A fortnight ago we brought you a story that the Iranian government had blocked access to Telegram and Instagram; well we have an update on that. IFP reports that authorities in the Islamic country has lifted the suspension placed on Telegram, and users now have access to the messaging app.
The country’s ICT Ministry confirmed on Saturday that the ban was officially lifted a couple of days after the restriction was placed. The ministry also added that other social media services like Reddit, Four Square, SoundCloud, Pinterest and Zoho were lifted alongside that of Telegram.
The ban came amidst protests in Iran where millions of people took to the streets to protest. Not quite of a surprise that as the action drew reaction from the US government.
Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said a couple of weeks ago that the United States wants Iran to “open these sites,” per the New York Daily. Describing the activities of Instagram and Telegram as “legitimate avenues for communication,” Goldstein called on Iranian authorities to restore the services of the two social networking apps.
Reacting to the widespread protests on Twitter, the US president Donald Trump said:
“The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!”
The Iranian government hinged its decision to block the messaging apps on security. According to state-run media, the move was encouraged by the need to “maintain tranquility and security of society.”
Apparently, authorities in that country followed that line of action in response to widespread protests ongoing in Iran. Not the first time though—Facebook was banned in 2009 by the Iranian government after protests erupted following the reelection of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Blocks, suspensions and threats of outright bans are nothing new to Telegram. The app has a long history of being on the wrong sides of government authorities—Russia, Indonesia and the rest.
Last July, the messaging app bowed to pressure from authorities in Indonesia as it agreed to block all terrorist-related content. This came on the heels of threat issued by authorities in that country, threatening to block the chat app from being able to carry out its services.
In his reaction to the ban, Telegram founder Pavel Durov said the company would get rid of all channels related to ISIS that were flagged by the Iranian government. He also promised that the company would work to improve its services by developing a better system.
“On a less joyful note, Iranian authorities started blocking Telegram in Iran today after we publicly refused to shut down channels of peaceful Iranian protesters, such as @sedaiemardom.”
“We are proud that Telegram is used by thousands of massive opposition channels all over the world. We consider freedom of speech an undeniable human right, and would rather get blocked in a country by its authorities than limit peaceful expression of alternative opinions.”