Iran reported to be negotiating with Twitter to unblock popular website

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Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Iran’s new communications minister has said that negotiations are under way to stop blocking Twitter, which has been banned for years despite being used by the country’s top leaders.

The microblogging platform was barred in 2009 after mass protests broke out against the reelection of former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

Iran’s new communications minister, Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, said, “Twitter is not an immoral environment needing to be blocked.” / Tasnim

Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi told the state-owned Iran daily newspaper on August 22 that Twitter was ready to “negotiate to resolve problems.”

“Twitter is not an immoral environment needing to be blocked,” Jahromi, 36, was quoted as saying.

Jahromi, Iran’s youngest-ever minister and the first to be born after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, has been a critic of online censorship in Iran. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter remain officially banned even as millions use them daily through easily obtained software.

Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace, which is headed by President Hassan Rohani and overseen by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is in charge of blocking websites.

Even so, Rohani and Khamenei both have Twitter accounts administered on their behalf.

Jahromi told the newspaper that officials were also looking at ways to unblock YouTube while still censoring “immoral content.” He said a pilot project would allow universities to access the site.