Iran Tuesday rejected reports that it planned to permanently cut access to the Internet in August and launch a national intranet within five months and said multiple online reports surfaced Monday about Tehran's plan to do so were a hoax.
According to a statement issued by the country's ministry of communication and information technology, the reports about Iran's alleged plans to shut down Internet were derived from a cooked up online interview with Iranian Communications Minister Reza Taghipour published on April 1, AFP reported.
The report is in no way confirmed by the ministry and is completely baseless, said the ministry statement, published on its own site www.ict.gov.ir, which itself was not accessible outside of Iran.
As per the fake reports, Taghipour announced that from August Iran would set up a clean internet that would block popular services like Google, Gmail, Google Plus, Yahoo and Hotmail, and replace them with search engines and e-mail services sponsored by the government itself.
Criticizing the false reports the ministry said the hoax serves the propaganda wing of the West and providing its hostile media with a pretext emanating from a baseless claim.
However, the Islamic republic does have plans to set up a national information network, which is said to be a fully closed system and would function like a kind of intranet for the country. Taghipour said earlier this month that by March 2013 the plan would be fully executed, though he didn't clarify whether there would be a permanent shut down of the Internet, or whether the country's national information network would co-exist next to the World Wide Web, the AFP report added.
The Islamic regime of Iran in any case has an awful track record when it comes to Internet freedom. The country currently censors a number of websites considering them to be un-Islamic. They have also imposed momentary additional limitations from time to time. In February, e-mail services such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo were reportedly cut or slowed to an unusable speed for Iran's 33 million web users.
Iran Blocks London 2012 Olympics Website
According to an ANI report, Iran has blocked access to the official site for the 2012 Olympics in London. Many Internet users in the country reportedly claimed that while trying to access the london2012.com, they were redirected to another website peyvandha.ir that offers stories from Iran's official news agencies.
A BBC report said that Iran's officials were recently ordered by the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to form a new body to co-ordinate decisions regarding the Internet.
In addition, people have also been informed that they would have to show their IDs and provide their full name while visiting any Internet café, the report added.