Iranian Judiciary bans Telegram and Orders Telecoms to Block the App


While Russia just came across thousands of people protesting against the ban on Telegram app, Iran is the next country where the app has been blocked now. Just yesterday, streets of Moscow witnessed thousands of people marching and throwing paper planes as a part of the protest against the blocking of Telegram instant messaging app. And now, Iran gets to see a ban on the same app.

The judiciary of Iran has just announced a nationwide ban on Telegram and ordered all the telecommunication providers to block the app with effect.  According to Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency, the order was brought into effect by a court ruling in Tehran, reported Wall Street Journal. Estimations suggested that about half of the country’s population were found to use the app for their regular personal communication.  And as a result of the recent ban, people’s communication will be badly affected.

However, Iranian State TV has a totally different way on the scenario. As Reuters reports, Iranian State TV suggested that Telegram was surrounded by several security related issues and complaints and was found not very safe for use, Judiciary proposed its ban for the benefit of the people. “Considering various complaints against Telegram social networking app by Iranian citizens, and based on the demand of security organisations for confronting the illegal activities of Telegram, the judiciary has banned its usage in Iran,” stated Iranian State TV, as Reuter’s report suggests.

Notably, Telegram was still found to be functioning on Monday, when the court ordered the ban on the app. Facebook and Twitter have already been banned in Iran long time back. With this new ruling of the ban on Telegram, the app joins the league with the other two banned apps! Though the court ruled the ban only on Monday, Iranian government employees were already ordered to quit using Telegram couple of weeks back. Interestingly, Iranian government also launched Soroush, a messaging app similar to Telegram just last week. It seems all the steps were well planned – first, the banning of the app for government employees, then coming up with its own competitor for Telegram, and finally banning it nationwide.

Telegram faced a temporary restriction from the government of Iran in January also. It was then to stop anti-government demonstrations from reaching the masses. Whenever in the past certain software applications or social media based services got banned or restricted in Iran, people with technical backgrounds were found to use other similar services and tools to continue working and communicating with others.

It appears that Iranian government already had plans to restrict Telegram as in the past too; it had asked the messaging app as well as other similar apps either to operate domestically or stop operating. In other words, it wanted the apps to transfer their data server right in Iran instead of having their data stored abroad.  It was an idea which many didn’t like and so got banned from the country. Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram also didn’t like the idea as it would have led to compromising with the privacy of the app as Iran is quite a restrictive country.