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Thursday, October 30, 2014 11:51

Iranian MP denounces internet service disruptions

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Ahmad Tavakoli

Iranian MP Ahmad Tavakoli says the recent blocking of internet and satellite services, causing sudden and unexplained disruptions, is creating widespread discontent that could be “very costly” for the regime.

Tavakoli, who is also the head of Parliament’s Centre for Research, told the Mehr News Agency: “This method of filtering, on the one hand, draws people toward breaking the law and using proxies, and on the other hand, makes the blocking of sites and signals ineffective, because the use of proxies becomes widespread.”

In the past few days, Iranian internet users have not been able to access foreign websites, and even sites like Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Yahoo Messenger and other email services have been sporadically unavailable.

Tavakoli called on officials to clearly explain the current disruptions and to stop “creating a nuisance” in people’s lives.

He added that many websites that contain “useful and specialized information” have also been blocked and need to be reopened to public access.

MP Ali Motahari, a critic of the government, announced that he will follow up on the difficulties in accessing personal email with the Ministry of Communications and Technology.

Yesterday, the ministry announced it was unaware of the disruptions in internet service, claiming the cause of the problem lay elsewhere.

Opposition groups, however, maintain that the disruptions are being caused by government precautions being taken in advance of February 14. That day will mark the anniversary of mass demonstrations called by opposition leaders MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who have both been held under house arrest for the past year.

This Coalition for the Green Path of Hope has called on people to join a march of silence on February 14 to mark the anniversary of last year’s protest and to demand the release of the opposition leaders.

Some analysts have declared that the service disruptions are also related to government efforts to launch a “national internet,” also referred to as a clean or decent internet.