Deputy Revolutionary Prosecutor in Tehran, Gholamhosein Mohseni Ezhei admitted to arresting six online activists and said activities on social media are against national security.
It is worth noting that 12 social media channel managers active on Telegram, the instant messaging app used by Iranians, have been arrested in March 2017 on charges of “measures treating national security.”
The Iranian authorities have also blocked access to a free voice messaging feature, from the Telegram messaging app, just days after its release.
This new encrypted voice calls service was rolled out to users around the world last week, but in a statement released on Monday, Telegram announced that the feature was being blocked by internet service providers as soon as one day after release.
Their statement read: “We did not receive any communications regarding the reasons, so we have no idea what could stand behind the decision. However, the fact that another voice over internet protocol providers in the country is still operating normally clearly suggests that this move is targeting Telegram specifically.”
Mohammad Montazeri, Iran’s Attorney General said, “Telegram’s voice calls will be blocked at least until the end of an election. Telegram’s voice systems have been acknowledged as a security threat by all of Iran’s intelligence and security apparatus and therefore is blocked. We will also observe and act upon that portion of cyberspace that its source is located in abroad. It is obvious that our enemy wants to damage our election’s strength and well-being through cyberspace.” Montazeri said security is at all times our top priority and we will not allow this security to be endangered through some networks.
Telegram Messenger network has the largest user community in Iran. Paul Drove, executive director of Telegram Company, has said in his newest announcement that this application has 40 million active users in Iran. They could have communicated using Telegram’s voice with less cost and a higher quality for their recipients.
The Judicial has previously ordered added WhatsApp, Line, and Tango to the list of blocked social media sites, which already included Facebook and Twitter. The Cyber Crime Unit of the Revolutionary Guards blocked or closed down hundreds of Telegram and Instagram accounts and arrested or summoned for interrogation the administrators of hundreds of groups and channels in Telegram, WhatsApp, and Instagram, as part of a massive crackdown on social media activities deemed “threatening to moral security.” According to AI annual report.