Former Iranian President’s Website Blocked in Iran

The Telegraph UK reported a few weeks ago that Iran’s government has recently blocked Iranian ex-President Mohammad Khatami’s website, khatami.ir. Led by current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the administration banned access to Khatami’s posts, in which he expresses his opposition to Admadinejad. A website affiliated with the main opposition group led by Mir Hossein Mousavi confirmed that the government committee in charge of monitoring Internet content in Iran was actively blocking Khatami’s site.

So far, Herdict has not received any specific reports on khatami.ir’s inaccessibility in Iran. Herdict data shows that the last significant spike in inaccessibility reports were around June 2009, in conjunction with Iran’s last presidential election.

And the opposition indeed stems from the election of Admadinejad last year, which many disputed as rigged. In June, protesters marked the anniversary of his election by taking to the streets in Tehran.

This is not the first time that an influential official’s website has been blocked. Earlier last month, two clerics’ websites were also banned due to their critical political views toward the current government’s crackdowns. The Iranian government is also known to arrest controversial bloggers who have spoken out about Admadinejad, such as Iran’s “blog-father” Hossein Derakhshan. In a recent blog post, The Economist warned that that governments in the Middle East will only push for greater control over the web, offering examples of stricter actions:

“The authorities are getting better at exploiting the internet themselves. After the big demonstrations in Iran last year, they circulated pictures of protesters online for members of the public to identify. In May this year, Ebrahim Jabari, a Revolutionary Guard commander, confirmed that the regime had set up a “cyber-army” to crack down on “destructive” online networks.”

Reporters claim that Iranian Internet users continue to use proxies to access banned sites such as Facebook.

For more information, visit Herdict’s Iran page and OpenNet Initiative’s breakdown on the Internet in Iran.

About the Author: Qichen Zhang

Qichen is an undergraduate studying Social Studies at Harvard College. Besides Herdict, she blogs for the Berkman Center's OpenNet Initiative and Blogging Common. She can be reached at qzhang@fas.harvard.edu.

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