RFL/RE – Iranian authorities have ordered the social-messaging app Telegram to move its servers outside the country.
The Supreme Cyberspace Council, Iran’s Internet watchdog, said in a statement on April 26 that it had canceled the license that allowed Telegram servers to be hosted in Iran.
The decision means that all incoming messages have to be channeled through Iran’s government-controlled net gateways, slowing down the service considerably.
The authorities also said swapping images and videos via the service was not banned.
The move comes after Iranian authorities last month said Iran would block Telegram, thought to be used by an estimated 40 million Iranians, by the end of April, for reasons of national security.
The authorities temporarily shut down Telegram in January in an effort to contain antiestablishment protests across the country.
In recent weeks, the authorities have been encouraging Iranians to use domestic alternatives to Telegram.
Abolhasan Firouzabadi, the council’s secretary, said on April 25 that Telegram use declined 27 percent in recent weeks.
Iran’s move comes after a court in Russia last week ordered Telegram, set up by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, to be blocked after the company refused to share its encryption data with the country’s security services.
With reporting by AP and BBC