April 10, 2012 - 12:37 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Millions of Internet users in Iran will be permanently denied access to the World Wide Web and cut off from popular social networking sites and email services, as the government has announced its plans to establish a national Intranet within five months.
According to International Business Times, in a statement released last week, Reza Taghipour, the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology, announced the setting up of a national Intranet and the effective blockage of services like Google, Gmail, Google Plus, Yahoo and Hotmail, in line with Iran's plan for a "clean Internet."
The government is set to roll out the first phase of the project in May, following which Google, Hotmail and Yahoo services will be blocked and replaced with government Intranet services like Iran Mail and Iran Search Engine. At this stage, however, the World Wide Web, apart from the aforementioned sites, will still be accessible.
The government has already started the registration procedure to apply for procuring Iran Mail ID, which mandates authentic information pertaining to a person's identity, including national ID, address and full name. Registration will be approved only after verifying it against the government data on the particular applicant.
The second and final stage of the national Intranet will be launched in August, which will permanently deny Iranians access to the Internet.
"All Internet Service Providers (ISP) should only present National Internet by August," Taghipour said in the statement.
Unveiling a six-point plan to implement the Iranian Intranet, Taghipour said last March that the Internet "promotes crime, disunity, unhealthy moral content, and atheism," and that government's goal is to eliminate the online "scourges." In October last year, an Iranian official - who called Facebook users a threat to Islamic values - expressed concern that expansion of social media networks was harming the nation and society.
Describing the blogosphere as one of the "most effective elements of soft war" against Iran, Mehdi Jafari, head of the technology and intelligence section of the Pupil's Basij militia, said arrogant and imperial powers (like the US) were using social-media sites to push their agenda.
Meanwhile, according to The Next web, a latest statement from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said, ”The report is in no way confirmed by the ministry” and is “completely baseless,” adding that it served only, “the propaganda wing of the West and providing its hostile media with a pretext emanating from a baseless claim”.