Iran Blocks Internet Basics Google, Gmail

Written by Fred Petrossian, in Iran

The Iranian regime has been an enemy to freedom of speech for decades but on Sunday, September 23, 2012, they still surprised many by announcing that they would begin filtering Google and Gmail in the next hours.

An Iranian official, Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, said this was due [fa] to a request by the public to oppose an anti-Islam film on YouTube that many see as blasphemous (Google owns YouTube). Khoramabadi is a key member of a “Commission to Determine Instances of Criminal Content”.

Meanwhile some speculate that the true reason for blocking Google has more to do with promoting the so called Iranian “national Internet” which wassupposed to become operational on 22 September, but has so far not appeared.

Global Voices contacted several Iranians in different cities including Tehran, Shiraz and Qom. Almost all say they have no access to Gmail. A number of them are also unable to access Google search.

Arash Abadpour, a Canada-based Iranian blogger and computer scientist explained the situation to Global Voices as following:

Cutting off access to Google Search essentially pushes a significantly larger population towards looking for ways to be able to get around the filtering regime. A result of this process is not necessarily a “better” or “more free” Internet, but, nevertheless, the current course of action is not going to help the Iranian establishment either. They are pushing people towards a more vigilant approach to the Internet. They are telling people “go learn how to use a VPN”, and I foresee that being exactly what is going to happen.

A Facebook campaign has launched to call for Internet freedom and the right to access Google. Mana Neyestani’s cartoon (right) on Google being filtered is eye-catching on this Facebook page.

Several Iranian netizens also tweeted about the filtering with irony. Behran Tajdin tweeted [fa]:

@Behrang: This “public” who requested Google filtering, did they not have gmail accounts? If they had, what do they use them for?

Saye Roshan tweeted [fa]:

@sayeeeeh: We blocked Gmail and Google, we brought up the rate for the dollar, I doubt we can make life harder for the USA with these actions.

In reality the primary victim in this decision is not Google, but the freedom of Iranians. It seems even virtual freedoms are too much for the Islamic regime.

Related stories:

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Iranian Wants to Legalize Marriage for Girls As Young As 9

Some US senators’ view of Iran would lead straight to war


Cartoon by Mana Neyestani. Source: Internet Freedom Project on Facebook

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Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you Global Voices, for Sharing this!

Fiona T.
Fi T.2 years ago

Information flow may not always be good but it's a part of growth for people and their country

Tim C.
Tim C.2 years ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Lindsay Kemp
Lindsay Kemp3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Lynn Squance
Lynn Squance3 years ago

SOPA in the US and similar legislation in Canada. Others too. Now Iran.

It seems to me that all this is being put into place by governments that want to control their populations more and more. They fear their own citizens.

Some laws are needed, but when the laws are such that they threaten free speech, things have gone too far,

Robert O.
Robert O.3 years ago

Just terrible! They can't seem to get a shred of freedom.

BMutiny TCorporationsAreE

Here is the reference:
Iran Restores Access To Gmail
October 1st, 2012 8:54 am Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian authorities have restored access to Gmail a week after blocking Google’s popular email service.
The Islamic Republic blocked Gmail last week in response to video clips posted on YouTube of an anti-Islam film that set off deadly protests across the Muslim world. YouTube is owned by Google.
The ban sparked a slew of complaints from Internet users and officials in Iran.

On Monday, Mohammad Reza Aghamiri, a member of governmental Internet watchdog committee, told the semiofficial Mehr news agency that authorities have lifted the Gmail ban after resolving technical problems to separate YouTube and Gmail.
As of Monday, YouTube is still blocked, while Gmail is now available

Iran has an estimated 32 million Internet users out of a total population of around 75 million.

BMutiny TCorporationsAreE

According to news I have just read, they have now UNBLOCKED IT.

Patricia H.
Patricia H.3 years ago