Tuesday 21st May 2019 

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News: Terrorism and fundamentalism

Attorney General: Online social networks harm Iran regime

NCRI - The Iranian regime’s Attorney General has expressed concern about the impact of online social networks, warning that the intention behind these networks is to harm the regime.

Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri, the mullahs’ infamous Attorney General, in a meeting on Sunday, May 29, with members of the state media expressed concern about the spread of social networks.

"Unfortunately, the current situation is caused by activities of immoral people who are also the enemy of humanity. These people have set goals and plan to harm the Islamic Republic of Iran," Montazeri said. His remarks were carried by the website of the official state broadcaster IRIB.

He added: "Unfortunately, the cyberspace is so poisoned and infected. We are constantly monitoring it, and each week we have to tackle hundreds and perhaps even thousands of centers of corruption."

"There is much to talk about regarding cyberspace. The Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei] in his recent remarks was critical of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace and the Ministry of Communications. Fortunately, his warnings were made public and are bearing fruit. Yesterday in a meeting with the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, some suggestions were made in order to sort out and organize the social systems and we hope the changes will be implemented soon."

Laying the groundwork for a further clampdown on social networking sites, the mullahs’ Attorney General added: "As the Attorney General’s Office is the head of the committee responsible for clarifying what constitutes criminal activity, we will hold fortnightly meetings with relevant bodies on this matter."

A day earlier, Iran's fundamentalist regime set a one-year deadline for international social media, in particular Telegram, to hand over data on their Iranian users.

The decision was taken on Saturday at a session of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, a committee on the use of cyberspace headed by the mullahs' President Hassan Rouhani that serves as the regime's IT regulator.

The Mehr news agency, affiliated to the regime's notorious Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), reported on Sunday: "At a meeting of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, chaired by President Hassan Rouhani, it was decided that all foreign social media active in the country must within one year transfer to Iran all the data they hold [on Iranian citizens]."

In a separate report, Mehr said that Telegram, an instant messaging app with more than 20 million users in Iran, would have to provide all its data on Iranian users if it wants to continue to operate in Iran.

"Based on a directive approved last night at the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, foreign social media active in the country must transfer to Iran all the data they hold on Iranian citizens in order be able to continue their operations. Therefore Telegram must hand over to Iran its data on Iranian users," it said.

The report added that more than 80 percent of the world's Telegram users are based in Iran.

The official state news agency IRNA said the committee had also decided to work to develop homegrown social media to compete with foreign networks.

Authorities in Iran, where Facebook and Twitter are officially banned although users can gain access with easily available software, have for years tried to impose curbs on Iranians using social media.

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