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Atheist’s app banned in Iran as ‘Zionist’

The decision by Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, secretary of the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content, reveals something of the contradictory forces which Rouhani has to manage in Iran. Although the decision made by Secretary of the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content Khorramabadi, the committee for censorship was created by the government. (We are asssuming the translation from Farsi is accurate.) Three brief reports from Haaretz, Android Central and Business Insider.

Image from Bloomberg via Haaretz

Iran bans WhatsApp due to ‘Jewish ownership’

The ban seems to have triggered an open dispute with the government, which has been attempting to implement moderate social policies.

By Haaretz
May 03, 2014

An Iranian censor has banned the use of the WhatsApp messaging application because it is owned by an “American Zionist, according to news reports.

What’sApp was purchased two months ago by Facebook, which was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, an American Jew.

The ban seems to have triggered an open dispute with the government, which has been attempting to implement moderate social policies. “The government is completely against the ban on WhatsApp,” Communications Minister Mahmoud Mehr told the state news agency IRNA.

The ban was announced by the secretary of the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content, Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, who was quoted as saying that “the reason for this is the adoption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist.”

The committee has not yet made decision on filtering other smartphone applications, such as Viber, Tango and Instagram, Khorramabadi said. Iran blocked access to another social network application, WeChat, last December.

Twitter and Facebook have been banned in Iran since 2009, when ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election victory sparked off massive protests that gained momentum with the help of organizers using social media.

Iranian users are still able to access them via proxies, though it requires a degree of technical knowledge.

Facebook has not commented on the reports.

Iran censors WhatsApp because Mark Zuckerberg is a ‘Zionist’

By Derek Kessler, Android Central 
May 06 2014 

It must be that internet access is slow, because Iran just got around to banning WhatsApp because parent company co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is Jewish. Kind of. After, you know, Facebook bought WhatsApp over two months ago. The ban comes courtesy of Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, Secretary of the Iranian Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content, which has the power to block access to sites and services deemed offensive in content, ownership, or… well, whatever, really.

Khorramabadi described Zuckerberg as “an American Zionist”, which is apparently reason enough to extend Iran’s blocking of Facebook to WhatsApp as well. Strangely, the committee has not yet got around to blocking Facebook-owned Instagram, despite it being a part of Zuckerberg’s alleged Zionist enterprise for much longer than WhatsApp.

Nevermind that even though Zuckerberg was raised Jewish, he has since dropped religion and become an atheist. Though that too could probably be deemed offensive in the eyes of the committee; let alone his Jewish heritage, which too would probably be enough.

The committee’s actions aren’t without objection, even from within the Iranian government. Both the Iranian Communications Minister and President Hassan Rouhani have objected to the ban, though neither apparently has the authority to overrule the Iranian Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content.

Just goes to show, the internet might be under assault at home, but it could always be much worse.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Photo of Mark Zuckerberg by Reuters

Iran Bans WhatsApp Because It’s Owned By ‘An American Zionist’

By Karyne Levy, Business Insider
May 06, 2014

Officials in Iran have blocked residents in the country from using WhatsApp, citing the fact that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — who purchased the messaging app a couple months ago — is Jewish.

“The reason for this is the assumption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist,” said Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, head of the country’s Committee on Internet Crimes, according to Fox News.

But, according to Haaretz, the ban has caused a conflict within the government, which has been trying to implement more modern social policies.

Communications Minister: Government of & fully opposed to filtering of WhatsApp

“The government is completely against the ban on WhatsApp,” Communications Minister Mahmoud Mehr told the state news agency IRNA, according to Haaretz.

And according to the Washington Post, the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content does not have the authority to implement the ban. WhatsApp continues to work in Iran, at least for the time being.

An Iranian blogger who asked to remain anonymous told Fox News:

The Revolutionary Guard sees these social sites as a major threat because there’s an appeal for young people and the government worries about the exchange of information. [Supreme Leader] Khamenei and his cronies, caught on to the power and potential of these sites after the [Green Revolution] uprisings.

This isn’t the first time that the country has blocked a service. It blocked WeChat in December, and has previously blocked Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. According to a report in Al Jazeera, several Iranian agencies control the Internet, but not all of them agree on the policies.

Facebook has not yet commented on the reports, according to both Haaretz and Fox News.

Wikipedia link: Mark Zuckerberg

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