An Iranian Grand Ayatollah has said high speed internet is unethical and contrary to humanitarian principles, Iranian media sources reported on Tuesday.

Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, a prominent Shia scholar, made the remarks in response to a question put to him by cyber activists, via his website.

Although Iran has the highest total number of internet users in the Middle East, its average data speed is about a tenth of the global average.  

However, Shirazi said 3G — third generation mobile communications technology — and broadband internet were morally wrong, and that there needed to be standards to prevent users from dangers such as “immoral and inhumane” videos and photos, rumors, and espionage.

The Grand Ayatollah’s comments come after one of Iran’s largest mobile operators, Irancell, announced this month that it would test 3G services to universities and government offices, and after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said earlier this year that Iran should upgrade its internet services.

In addition to his conservative stance on the internet, the Grand Ayatollah, whose ancestors were Jewish converts to Shi'ite Islam, has also dubbed the Holocaust “nothing but superstition.”



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