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Iranian authorities have canceled a license that allowed local internet providers to host content by the popular messaging app Telegram.

Iran's Telecommunication Infrastructure Company said in a statement issued on April 26 that the order was issued by Iran’s Internet regulator, the Supreme Cyberspace Council.

The statement said that the decision could affect the "quality" of the use of Telegram inside the country.

It said all inbound traffic must now be routed through Iran's "international" Internet communications channels.

The move comes after Iranian authorities last month said Iran would block Telegram, thought to be used by an estimated 40 million Iranians, by the end of April, for reasons of national security.

The authorities temporarily shut down Telegram in January in an effort to contain antiestablishment protests across the country.

In recent weeks, the authorities have been encouraging Iranians to use domestic alternatives to Telegram.

Abolhasan Firouzabadi, the council's secretary, said on April 25 that Telegram use declined 27 percent in recent weeks.

Iran's move comes after a court in Russia last week ordered Telegram, set up by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, to be blocked after the company refused to share its encryption data with the country's security services.

Based on reporting by IRNA and AP
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