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Posted at 11:56 AM ET, 02/13/2012

Iran gets back e-mail access, but other sites remain blacked out ahead of protest

It’s a small consolation. After news spread that Iran had blocked Google, Facebook, Twitter and other foreign sites for the past four days, AP reported early Monday that access to e-mail was back.


Iranian women use computers at an Internet cafe in central Tehran Monday. (Vahid Salemi - AP)

More than 30 million Internet users in the country had been unable to access their e-mail accounts, according to Google.

The Post’s correspondent in Tehran, Thomas Erdbrink, confirmed Monday that while Gmail was working again, other blocked sites remained that way, including Facebook and Twitter. Instead of reaching these sites, Iranians see this message: “According to computer crime regulations, access to this Web site is denied.”

Iran’s Information Technology Organization said they are unaware of the issue, Iran’s Mehr news agency reported.

Some bloggers fear the crackdown on the Web indicates Iran’s planned National Internet is finally on the horizon, Erdbrink reported Thursday. The government has said the National, or “Halal” Internet, which would block “damaging” Western Web sites, can be launched at any time.

Other bloggers point out that the blackout has happened ahead of a protest planned for Feb. 14. Tuesday’s protests will mark the one-year anniversary of demonstrations called in 2011 to show solidarity with uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, Global Voices reports. The protests on that day were met with brutal repression by the Iranian government, and left two dead in Tehran.

Maysam, a prominent Iranian blogger, told Erdbink recently that even the work-around software he had long used to bypass the country’s firewall and connect to the Internet had stopped working.

“There has been a change,” said Maysam who spoke on the condition his last name not be used, out of fear of repercussions by Iran’s cyber police. “It seems that the authorities are increasingly getting the upper hand online.” 

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By  |  11:56 AM ET, 02/13/2012

Tags:  World, Iran, internet, web censorship

 
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