An Iranian news site is reporting that the country will block the Telegram messenger service for reasons of national security.
The Saturday report by Mashreghnews.ir quoted the head of the parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, Alaeddin Boroujerdi as saying the decision was made “at the highest level” and that the app, which is similar to WhatsApp, would be replaced by a similar local system.
Boroujerdi said the decision was a response to what he called Telegram’s destructive role in anti-government protests that began in late December, in which at least 25 people were killed and nearly 5,000 reportedly arrested.
The app, with some 40 million users in Iran, was temporarily shut down during the protests in early January. However, some 10 percent of users reached it through proxies and VPN services.
The protests began in late December and continued into 2018, initially focusing on the government’s economic policies but developing into expressions of opposition to the theocratic regime.