On Monday, reports began to surface that Iran is on the brink of an Internet shutdown in order to replace it with a closed national Intranet system, but the Iranian communications ministry said the report was just a hoax from the propaganda wing of the West.
The ministry blamed the story on the propaganda wing of the West and providing its hostile media with a pretext emanating from a baseless claim.
The Iranian ministry said the initial report about the Internet was a hoax begun on April 1 from a statement from Internet and Communications Technology Minister Reza Taghipour. Taghipour said Iran would be setting up a national intranet which would block access to Google, Gmail, Google Plus, Yahoo and Hotmail in order to establish a clean Internet, replacing the sites with search engines and e-mail services curated by the government. The government-approved search engine and e-mail service would be called Ya Haq (Oh Just One), according to Ars Technica, and users would have to register with the government in order to gain access.
The report further said the shutdown would begin in May and the government had already applied for Iran Mail ID, which would begin the process. The plan was first announced in January by Taghipour through the Islamic Republic News Agency and would allow access to foreign sites, but users' search history would be reported to the government on a white list. Last year, Taghipour said the Internet promotes crime, disunity, unhealthy moral content, and atheism, citing Facebook as a threat to Islamic values.
The AFP reported the country does, however, have plans to establish a national information network that would serve as an Intranet for the Islamic republic. However, it is unknown whether or not the Internet would be cut during the process or if the national information network would be in place during the transition from the World Wide Web.
According to Fast Company, the Iran national Internet shutdown would be the most ambitious effort yet by any government to censor the Internet. Reporters Without Borders said the plan consists of an Intranet designed ultimately to replace the international Internet and to discriminate between ordinary citizens and the 'elite' (banks, ministries and big companies), which will continue to have access to the international Internet.