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Persian Letters

Iran Filters Khamenei's Fatwa On Antifiltering

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: Filter not, lest ye be filtered.Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: Filter not, lest ye be filtered.
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Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: Filter not, lest ye be filtered.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: Filter not, lest ye be filtered.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has apparently become the latest victim of Iran's Internet censorship regime -- to which he himself has given his blessing and approval.

The website Tabnak reports that Khamenei's "fatwa" on the illegality of using antifiltering tools in Iran was itself blocked in the country, some 30 hours after it was published on Iranian websites. The ruling was seemingly filtered because it contained the word "antifiltering," which triggered the country's censorship system to automatically block it.

The misfire prompted the conservative website to write, "The filtering of a [religious] order is so ugly for the executive [branch] that it can bring into question the whole philosophy of filtering."

Tabnak has close ties to Mohsen Rezai, the current secretary-general of the Expediency Council and former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Khamenei, who has the final say in all state matters in the Islamic republic, issued the ruling after being asked about inaccessible websites by the semiofficial Mehr news agency.

Mehr wrote to Khamenei's office to say that some Iranians, because of their jobs -- including journalists -- need to visit blocked websites for news and information that is "usually not available on authorized websites." Mehr then asked what the religious ruling would be in such cases.

In his response, Khameni wrote: "In general, the use of antifiltering software is subject to the laws and regulations of the Islamic republic, and it is not permissible to violate the law."

In October, Iranian Telecommunications Minister Reza Taghipour said the use of antifiltering tools and virtual private networks (VPN) is a crime.

Iran has one of the toughest online censorship policies in the world. Many Iranians, including regime supporters, use proxies and antifiltering software to access blocked websites, including sites deemed immoral or against Iran's national interests. Among the tens of thousands of blocked pages are news and opposition websites.

Khamenei's ruling could create a dilemma for those among his hard-line supporters who browse blocked websites.

However, the fact that his ruling on filtering was itself filtered means that, absurdly, his followers must use antifiltering software to read his view on the illegality of antifiltering software.

Just another day in the Islamic republic.

--Golnaz Esfandiari

Tags: internet freedom

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mihan Irandoust from: USA
May 09, 2012 12:01
Mohsen Rezai is not the expediency council's head. Instead, Akbar Hashemi-rafsanjan is that council's head. Please correct.
In Response

by: RFE/RL editors
May 09, 2012 13:31
Yes, Mohsen Rezai is the council's secretary-general, and Rafsanjani is still the chairman. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

by: Chuck Hamilton from: Chattanooga, TN
May 09, 2012 14:04
In the dictionary under "irony", there is a picture of a map of Iran.

by: Alan from: MA
May 09, 2012 14:07
Hilarious!

by: Ben
May 09, 2012 15:47
Has Iran filtered your writings? It should : )

by: vafa ali rahmati from: Germany
May 09, 2012 18:08
I have everyday ,email,telphone , vidio chat with iran all my fiernds our in facebook . I have had no probloms with internet connection to or from Iran . I really don´t know where are you getting this information from???????????
In Response

by: somayeh
May 11, 2012 13:08
dear i am from Iran and using proxifierer(antifilter) to access to my facebook account ...
In Response

by: Ronnie from: USA
May 11, 2012 16:35
The filters work on computers based in Iran, using Iranian ISPs, not computers outside the country.
They block websites, not e-mail or video chats, though those are probably monitored...

by: s
May 09, 2012 22:14
"Just another day ni the Islamic Republic."

Classic line
In Response

by: Shahin from: shein.has@gmail.com
May 10, 2012 17:08
Great line.

by: Feridoun
May 10, 2012 15:37
Filtering an anti-anti-filtering message indicates that not all filtering and some anti-filtering should be considered, while anti-filtering and filtering have their place as well. Bah! Bah!

by: Anonymous
May 11, 2012 05:23
i think iranic supreme leader Khamanei and president Akhmad-i Najad are Jews. They are working für İsrael. They create fake oppositions, and try to show İran, a leader for middle east's poor and ignorant Muslim people. Very many people believe, İran can lead Muslims. İsrael's another card is Turkey. There is no king in the middle east, only slaves of money & power.

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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.

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Seen anything in the Iranian blogosphere that you think Persian Letters should cover? If so, contact Golnaz Esfandiari at esfandiarig@rferl.org

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