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Iran's Communications Minister says social apps restriction temporary

Telegram founder Pavel Durov, in a defense of his company's policies, blamed the Iranian government's action on Telegram's refusal to agree with the government's recent request to shut down channels used by peaceful protesters. "If confirmed, we'll have to block such a channel, regardless of its size and political affiliation". Back in October Jahromi vowed to block "anti-revolutionary channels" on Telegram after Amad News channel reported that a state official's daughter was arrested for spying. Telegram is the most popular instant messaging app in the country and is used by nearly half of the countries population. On Tuesday, in a Twitter post, Durov added that the popular messaging app Whatsapp was still "fully accessible" in Iran.

"Telegram will face increasing pressure over time to collaborate with the Iranian government's demands for this or that".

Following the suspension of @amadnews, Durov writes that the channel admins were able to "reassemble most of their subscribers (800,000) in a new peaceful channel, which we welcomed" - after apologizing for breaking Telegram's ToS and pledging "not to promote violence in future".

Mostafa, an Iranian student whose last name has been withheld out of concerns for his safety, told CNN that getting around filtering and censorship was a priority - and that he was using a Chinese anti-filtering app to circumvent the ban.

"Regime in Iran can shut down signal, telegram, etc., but differently from 2009, the whole country is connected and they have a long list of other messaging apps to use", tweeted Jared Cohen, founder and chief executive of Jigsaw, an Alphabet company, and a senior fellow on the Council of Foreign Relations.

In 2009, the world watched as Iranians marching in the streets turned to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to organize and share information. But economic sanctions imposed on the country have made access to some of those tools more hard, said Collin Anderson, a cybersecurity researcher who planned to publish a report this week about Iran's capabilities. Iranian officials have filed criminal charges against me back in September for letting Telegram spread "uncensored news" and "extremist propaganda". The messaging app has a massive user base there. The government enforced the block through a combination of centralized censorship by the country's Supreme Cybercouncil and local ISP interference to enforce more specific orders. It is used by millions of people globally and has been criticized by US and European officials for allowing extremist groups and terrorists to communicate secretly.

Last year Durov was forced to deny that Telegram had moved some of its servers to the country - saying rather it had installed some local caching nodes to speed up download times.

In addition to this, admins of various Telegram channels have also been under the radar. Since there is a lot of Government influence on the traditional media, the social media has been very popular in the country.



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