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Persian Letters

Severe Internet Disruptions Reported In Iran

Many Iranians have been claiming that their access to social networks and Internet-based e-mail sites has been blocked in recent days.
Many Iranians have been claiming that their access to social networks and Internet-based e-mail sites has been blocked in recent days.
Severe Internet disruptions and increased censorship have been reported in Iran this week by Iranians who have complained on social media websites and via messages and telephone calls to RFE/RL’s Persian Service, Radio Farda.

They say their access to Google services has been blocked and that they haven’t been able to access other sites like Facebook even with the usual antifiltering software.

The reason for the disruption is not clear. It could be an attempt by government authorities to prevent a planned silent protest that has been called by the opposition Green Movement for February 14.

The Green Path of Hope coordination council issued the call to mark the anniversary of a protest last year, which attracted tens of thousands of people and led to the house arrest of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi.

Iran has disrupted the Internet before ahead of planned opposition demonstrations. 

There is also speculation that the blackout is related to the government's plan to launch a national Internet, which it reportedly has been testing for months.

Iranian officials have said that the national network will be launched soon, amid concerns that it will cut off Iranians from the World Wide Web.

Whatever the reason for the increased censorship, it has upset many. 

An Iranian man who left a message on RFE/RL’s voice mail system described the disruption he has experienced:

“I’m a resident of Bandar Abbas, it’s the third day that it has been impossible to access my Gmail. My friends are facing the same problem. No one is giving us a straight answer. They just say it will soon be resolved.”

Another man, Amin, claimed via e-mail that he hasn’t been able to access Facebook or his Yahoo mail even with "the strongest antifiltering tools."

"This demonstrates the degree of freedom we enjoy here; we can’t even check our e-mail," he said.

Another man called to ask for help in bypassing the tightened controls:

"We’re getting close to the anniversary of [Iran’s 1979 revolution] and Iranian telecommunication officials are becoming increasingly worried, and they've blocked all https and everything else. We cannot access any website anymore.  I hope we get some help from [the outside]."

The Internet disruption has also been acknowledged by some websites inside Iran, including "Tabnak," which has called on authorities to tell citizens why they can't access Gmail and other Internet-based e-mail programs. 

Iranian officials have had no comment on the reports.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari
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by: happypappies from: USA Missouri
February 11, 2012 05:01
Interesting as all I hear from Iran is how free their Supreme Leader allows the Citizens to be. I wonder how much of this is to do with the Sanctions imposed

by: Brett Keiller from: New Zealand
February 11, 2012 11:49
I see iran has its communication challenges, Telecommunication Company of Iran according to wikipedia has satelite links from the iran network to outside. i did a traceroute to www.mci.ir and presstv.ir and found an italian company www.tinet.net hosts the nearest nodes, i found a server in sweden, and another in germany connecting iran to the WWW. two unidentified 'pings' appeared inbetween which had ping host lookup disallowed, a little secretive, perhaps the satelite uplink and downlink nodes. There are many vulnerabilities by having one ISP putting all your eggs in one basket, central lookups can overload/flood easily, and a satlink is always prone to latency problems. it pays to have bothe fibre optic cable access as well as satelite, better to have international friends, fault tollerant systems, and freedom of speech

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.

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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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