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Surfing the Internet at a cafe in Tehran
Tehran's Prosecutor-General Saaid Mortazawi says a special office will open this week to review Internet- and SMS-related crimes and violations, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Mortazawi said his office will review election campaign violations made in the sending of SMS messages.

He said the office will also investigate offensive statements made in SMS messages.

There is currently no law on SMS or Internet-related messaging in Iran.

Iranian communication authorities claim they keep a record of all SMS messages sent, though some estimates have more than 80 million SMSs being sent in Iran each day.

One expert told Radio Farda that Iranian authorities can, in fact, monitor and trace all SMS messages.

In recent years some student groups, workers unions, and other groups have used SMS to notify each other of meetings, demonstrations, or information about detained colleagues.
Shirin Ebadi
Iranian security forces today raided and closed the Tehran office of the human rights center run by 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi.

In an interview with RFE/RL's Radio Farda, Narges Mohammadi, the deputy head of the Human Rights Defenders Center, said 10 to 15 uniformed and plainclothes security agents entered the watchdog's office in northwest Tehran as members, including Ebadi herself, were preparing to belatedly commemorate the 60th anniversary of Human Rights Day on December 10.

"I asked them to show their legal warrants," Mohammadi told RFE/RL, "but they declined to show any authorization. Now, there are 10 to 15 agents in the building, and they are filming us."

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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