The Government of Iran has continued its hostile attitude towards the Telegram by announcing criminalizing the use of the Gram – a native token of the Telegram’s new blockchain technology. Issuing a warning in this regard, Javad Javidnia, Secretary of a criminal content definition task force of the country, said that any support extended to the Gram would be considered a breach of the national security as it could have a detrimental effect on the nation’s economy. He reiterated that the move of the government to ban the Telegram last year was in favor of protecting the local economy and in the national interest. He said that there was a serious economic threat from the various activities of Telegram and in the wake of these concerns; the country had decided to ban the social media app. He also noted that turmoil in the political atmosphere of the nation had somewhat marginalized the economic threats the country was grappling with.
Ban on Telegram
So that you know, the judiciary in Iran issued a ban on the Telegram seven months ago. The social messaging app faced with the allegation of causing unrest in the Islamic Republic and as a result was slapped a ban by the judicial system. The government officials also recommended that the use of Telegram must be prohibited in the country. The argument that the Telegram was disrupting the nation’s economy was also made by Hassan Firouzabadi, Secretary Iran’s High Council for Cyberspace. Then, Telegram was the most popular social media app in Iran with over 50-million subscribers, roughly translating into 50% of Iran’s population. Firouzabadi alleged that the use of Gram would undermine Iran’s own Rial and could result in an outflow of up to $50 billion from the country. This allegation came after the initial coin offering (ICO) from Telegram raised around $1.7 billion during the pre-sale. Specifically, the secretary noted that telegram was not a dominant messaging app in any country except in Iran. The official announcement from Telegram that it would be used as an economic platform didn’t go down well with Iran’s officials who considered that Telegram would ultimately undermine the national currency of Iran.
Directive from President
The ban on the Telegram in May 2018 also coincided with the directive from the President’s Office which prohibited any civil servant to use messenger apps of the foreign countries. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the President, Hassan Rouhani set the example by quitting the messaging app. Interestingly, Telegram has been elusive in revealing the location of its offices although the company is registered in both the United States and England. Experts suggest that Telegram doesn’t want to disclose its locations in order to avoid any data request by the governments. Before the judicial ban, Telegram had previously faced a temporary ban in Iran. The executive arm of the Government slapped a temporary ban on Telegram following the widespread protest in the various cities of the country. The government then accused the Telegram of fomenting trouble and assisting the protesters in spreading the unrest in a bid to topple the government.