It will be impossible for Iran to keep blocking Facebook forever, Iran’s culture minister Ali Janati has said.
Such an admission of error was earlier unimaginable in the past before present President Hassan Rouhani, a declared moderate, was elected as Iranian President in August. The Minister said:
“Four million Iranians are on Facebook, and we have restricted it.We cannot restrict the advance of [such technology] under the pretext of protecting Islamic values.”
Iran has a massive state filtering in place which is used to restrict Facebook and other social media sites on the pretext that these are immoral or un-Islamic or are aimed at undermining the Islamic regime in Iran.
However, Iranians use different technical bypass techniques to access these. The minister said that this ban is similar to the one Iran’s Islamic rulers imposed on the use of video tapes, fax machines and video players after the Islamic revolution in 1979. He said:
“If we look back, we see many of the actions we took after the revolution were ridiculous.”
Currently Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and countless blogs and sites are on the ban list in the filtering system.
However, despite this ban, many Iranian officials can be seen active on social media. For example Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s Facebook page as 850,000 followers.