(October 24, 2011)
The use of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and proxies is a “crime,” Iran’s Minister of Communications and Technology has announced.
On Monday ISNA quoted the minister saying: “Now VPNs have been cut off in the country because their use is a legal violation.”
A VPN is a cyber network through which internet users can get access to internet providers outside Iran by using ISPs within the country. Iranian internet users have been using VPNs and proxies to circumvent internet censorship by the Islamic Republic, which tightly blocks numerous foreign as well as Iranian opposition websites.
Communications Minister Reza Taghipour maintained that it was “unfortunate” that the internet has become the “battle arena for the soft war.” He maintained that “fortunately, however, our country has a great technical ability to stand against it.”
Iranian authorities claim that their enemies are trying to destabilize the Islamic Republic system through cultural and social influences, which they refer to as the soft war. Therefore, the internet has been targeted by Iranian authorities as the main tool used by Iran’s enemies in the so-called soft war.
A committee headed by Iran’s Prosecutor General determines which sites must be blocked from being accessed by Iranian web users.