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The hard-line, pro-Ahmadinejad "Rajanews" website has protested against the filtering of hard-line blogs.

Iran filters thousands of blogs that are deemed immoral. Blogs by intellectuals, journalists, women's rights defenders, opposition activists, and other critics are also filtered.

Rajanews, however, is only critical of the blocking of hard-line bloggers. The website seems to suggest that the filtering of other blogs is the fault of their writers, whom the website accuses of insulting sanctities.

Rajanews writes:

"When one types the address of some of the blogs by 'the principalists,' it reaches a page (a well-known page for Iranians that says "access to this site is denied," meaning that the site has been blocked) that leads one to think that either the page address has been entered incorrectly or one has reached some of the blogs which, by insulting the sanctities of millions of Iranians, have led to their filtering."

The website has interviews an official from the Culture Ministry who says the orders for filtering or blocking websites and blogs come from the judiciary.

Mehdi Sarami, who is a member of a group dealing with filtering at Iran's Culture Ministry, adds that in some cases the ministry is against the filtering of some blogs that are being blocked based on the "personal taste" of unnamed officials.

Sarami is quoted by Rajanews as saying that supporting bloggers who blog within the framework of Iranian law is the responsibility of the Culture Ministry.

"At the peak of the enemy's cyberwar, supporting these [hard-line] bloggers is the least we can do," the official is quoted as saying.

Rajanews suggests that some blogs have been filtered because of "human error." The website names several of the hard-line blogs that have been filtered, including "Ahestan," which was reportedly among the finalists at a government-supported festival titled "Eight Months Of Cyber War."

Blogger Ahestan (Omid Hosseini) writes that his blog has been filtered twice without him really knowing the reason. He adds that some say his blog was filtered after he posted a YouTube video from one of the postelection protests in which a Basij member is being "attacked" and beaten up by the people.

He goes on to say that others think his blog was filtered after he criticized senior presidential aide Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei.

He says he has contacted officials in charge of filtering several times without getting any response from them.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.