Iranian judiciary authorities want to ban social media, after members of the government and religious establishments blamed recent deadly protests on foreign powers, a local media reported on Wednesday.
The decision is particularly directed at two messaging apps, that have not yet been banned in the country: Telegram and Instagram.
“These media don’t only distribute content opposed to the country’s interior security, but also opposed to Islamic values,’’ Vice-General Prosecutor Abdol-Samad Khorramsbadi said.
The cleric said that the apps cannot be controlled and therefore have to be blocked entirely.
“The government is opposed to the move, but doesn’t have the last say in the matter,’’ Khorramsbadi said.
Using social media, demonstrators have organised rallies across Iran since Dec. 28, protesting economic issues, Tehran’s Middle East policies and the country’s religious establishment.
A total of 18 demonstrators were killed in the unrest and up to 3,700 people have been arrested.
Some Iranian leaders, such as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have accused Iran’s enemies, including the U.S. and Israel of fomenting the protests.
Government hardliners want to entirely take control of the internet, while the government of reformist President Hassan Rowhani is strictly against the measure.
The discussion is likely to have little effect on Iranians, as millions of users already access forbidden websites and social media such as Facebook and Twitter using virtual private network apps.