By Iran Probe Staff
Sunday, 1 October 2017
Tehran’s public prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlat Abadi has raised charges against the Telegram social network company’s management and referred this case to the Tehran Public Prosecutor International Branch, according to Iranian state media.
Dowlat Abadi on Tuesday accused the Telegram network of “providing services to terrorist groups, such as ISIS, providing an adequate environment for other organized organizations’ activities, and encouraging and facilitating child pornography, and human and drug trafficking.”
Telegram CEO Pavel Durov wrote on Twitter that he was surprised by the comments.
“We are actively blocking terrorist and pornographic content in Iran,” he wrote. “I think the real reasons are different.”
Telegram blocks a thousand channels, bots or chats in Iran containing pornography or terrorist criteria, Durov added.
40 million Iranians are members of the Telegram network in Iran and this network has taken up to 60% of this country’s bandwidth, according to recent reports from inside Iran. It appears the immense filters imposed on the internet in Iran has increased the number of Telegram users. Iran has been seeking to filter Telegram for some time now, failing to this day.
Tehran also sought to transfer Telegram’s servers to Iran to impose their control.
Six months ago the Cyberspace High Council in Iran, chaired by President Hassan Rouhani, provided 12 months for online messengers to transfer their servers to Iran.
Iran claimed the servers had been transferred inside the country, only to be denied by the Telegram CEO.
Iran is concerned of opposition activities on the internet, especially the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), through Telegram and other social media mediums.