Iran blocks more int'l news Websites

Gov't bars access to French, German radio sites; BBC Persian service outlawed [The Media Line].

iranian computer 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
iranian computer 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Iran is furthering its efforts to block international news websites from delivering their reports to the country, the Iranian daily Etemad Melli reported. Local authorities have recently decided not to allow Iranians access to the Persian websites of Radio France Internationale (RFI) and Germany's Deutsche Welle radio. This move comes only two weeks after the Persian service of Britain's BBC was declared illegal and "a threat to national security" by Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance (MCIG). MCIG minister Muhammad Hussein Saffar Harandi explained on January 22 that his office, as well as the Ministry of Information, felt that the BBC Persian channel would "disturb national security since its producers have placed inflicting damage on the Islamic establishment on their agenda." Iranian authorities have also put restrictions on Voice of America (VOA) and the US-funded Radio Farda. More than five million websites were being monitored and filtered by Iran for causing "social, political and moral damage," an official in the Iranian judiciary said last year, according to Arabian Business. These included human rights and news websites, as well as opinionated blogs and content-sharing sites such as Facebook and YouTube. Meanwhile, the British Council (BC) closed its office in Iran on Saturday after its staff suffered "intimidation and harassment" by the Iranian government. The BC aims at building engagement and trust for the United Kingdom through the exchange of knowledge and ideas. It decided to temporarily close its cultural and educational center in Teheran after its entire local staff of 16 was ordered by security officials to resign, the British media reported. "Our hope is that we will be able to secure the agreement of the Iranian authorities to allow us to resume as soon as possible education and cultural programs between Iran and the United Kingdom for the benefit of the peoples of both countries," a BC statement read.