The chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee said this week that the popular messaging application Telegram, widely used by Iranians during the most recent uprisings which began on December 28, is “a security threat.”.
“The final decision on banning Telegram will be made by the Supreme National Security Council,” MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi said during an April 1 interview with the parliament’s news agency, ICANA. according to Radio Farda.
Boroujerdi reportedly claimed that a percentage of security threats against Iran originate on Telegram; suggested the United Kingdom, Germany, and Israel use the information stored on Telegram against the Islamic Republic; and claimed that Telegram was used against Iran’s security during the most recent uprising.
In February, Breitbart News reported that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has engaged in a series of coordinated cyber warfare tactics to spy on, police, and arrest the Iranian people to secure its theocracy, by blocking access to Telegram and forcing Iranians to use apps created by the regime.
Some of the names of these counterfeit, regime-created apps meant to mimic Telegram include Mobogram, Telegram Farsi, Hotgram, Wispi, Black Telegram, and Telegram Talayi.
According to Radio Farda:
Several MPs, including two other members of the national security and foreign policy committee, as well as a large number of social media users, have reacted to Boroujerdi’s comments.
Reformist MP Ahmad Mazani said Boroujerdi’s comments “insulted the parliament”; another reformist MP, Mahmoud Sadeqi, said banning a foreign application and replacing it with a substandard homegrown application would be “wrong,” while former hardline MP Hamid Rasai supported Boroujerdi and called for launching “a national information network.”
The recent uprisings in Iran were not the first time the Iranian regime blocked access to Telegram, and other popular apps used by everyday Iranians.
Breitbart News reported in May 2017 that “Iran’s judiciary has reportedly blocked Instagram Live and the voice calls feature from Telegram ahead of the country’s May 19 presidential elections. The disabling of features in these two popular social media apps appears to be a power move by Iranian hardliners to control the outcome of the elections.”