TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran’s judiciary has issued a one-month ultimatum for the government to ban applications WhatsApp, Viber and Tango, in a move that could boost existing restrictions on Internet use in the country.
Iran has a policy of filtering online content, which leaves popular websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube inaccessible without the use of illegal software.
“After the order given by the head of the judicial authority, you have one month to take technical measures to ban and to monitor” Viber, Tango and WhatsApp, Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejeie, the second-ranking member of Iran’s judiciary, said in a letter to Telecommunications Minister Mahmoud Vaezi.
Mohseni-Ejeie criticised “messages against the founder of the Islamic republic (Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini) that have been widely circulated on the Viber, Tango and WhatsApp networks” in recent weeks.
In the letter published by local news agencies on Saturday, he stressed that the messages constitute “crimes”.
Local media said similar messages had been sent through the applications about current officials in the Iranian government, including supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.