Iran Bans WhatsApp for Ties to 'Zionist' Zuckerberg

Monday, 05 May 2014 12:51 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Iran has banned access to the WhatsApp messaging site used by many in the country to communicate, it because it was acquired by Facebook Inc., whose founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is Jewish, Fox News reported.

The announcement came two months after Facebook bought the company for $19 billion.

Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, head of Iran's Committee on Internet Crimes, said the reason for the ban is, "The assumption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist," Fox News reported.

Since the June 2009 popular uprisings in Iran, critics of the regime have heavily relied on the Internet, and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogging sites to organize and voice their dissent.

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"The Revolutionary Guard sees these social sites as a major threat because there's an appeal for young people, and the government worries about the exchange of information," an Iranian blogger, who asked not to be named, told Fox News.

Supreme Leader Ali "Khamenei and his cronies, caught on to the power and potential of these sites after the [Green Revolution] uprisings."

Since then, reports have emerged that the government cut off access to the Internet and replaced it with Halal Net, an Islamically permissible Intranet that only allows access to government-approved sites, according to Fox News.

There are now concerns that other social networking sites and applications could be banned, and while Khorramabadi said there are no current plans to do so, he admitted it was a possibility in the future.

In 2011, the regime established the Iranian Cyber Police to monitor what it defines as criminal Internet activity. It is overseen by a high-level committee which has 13 members, including six officials from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's Cabinet.

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