Iran President Hassan Rouhani on Monday brushed off attacks against
his telecom minister over charges of failing to create a “safe environment” in
social media and leaving Iranian data vulnerable to espionage, state television
According to the judiciary, 2,000 people in the southwestern
city of Ahvaz and the general prosecutor’s office have lodged a complaint
against the minister, Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, Arab news reported on
“Someone in the judiciary says they’ll lodge a complaint
against a young minister. Well, he is not at all intimidated and is doing his
job,” said Rouhani, without naming the minister.
“Ok, then, lodge a complaint! The young minister is working
for the benefit of the people and pays no heed to pointless orders,” he added
A “lack of safe space” in social media has “drawn (young
people) to Takfiri (extremist) groups and eventually led to (last year’s)
terrorist incident at the armed forces parade,” a cyberspace official at the
prosecutor’s office, Javad Javidnia, told semi-official news agency ISNA.
Back in September 2018 in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, in
Khuzestan province bordering Iraq, gunmen killed at least 24 people as they
opened fire on the military parade.
Javidnia said a complaint had also been lodged against the
managers of Telegram and Instagram.
Iran has in the past blocked access to social media platforms
such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and the judiciary blocked the Telegram
messaging app in May.
The judiciary has also accused Azari-Jahromi, at 37 the
youngest member of Rouhani’s cabinet, of leaving Iran’s “big data” vulnerable
to access by its enemies, which enables them to commit “Internet espionage.”
“Foreigners can analyze this data and use it to disrupt the
country’s security and stability,” Javidnia told ISNA.
The judiciary has frequently clashed with the telecom
In January, Azari-Jahromi opposed a mulled ban on the photo-
and video-sharing application Instagram, saying it would only create new
problems for the Islamic republic.
Despite restrictions, top Iranians officials like Rouhani and the minister himself use services such as Twitter, which are widely accessible via proxy servers.