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Iran takes steps toward a (slightly) more open internet

It’s no secret that Iran blocks access to a whole host of popular websites and services. If you’re in Iran and you try to visit a website that’s censored there — like WordPress.com — you’ll be faced with a page like this:

internet-censorship

However, a number of Iranians are pushing back against this censorship, including Iran’s Culture Minister Ali Jannati and even President Hassan Rouhani, who has active Twitter accounts in English (@hassanrouhani) and Farsi (@Rouhani_ir). And it seems that Iran is now open to unblocking certain sites — in a controlled, filtered way:

“We are not opposed to any of the entities operating in global markets who want to offer services in Iran,” the deputy telecommunications and information technology minister, Nasrollah Jahangard, told the Fars news agency on Sunday.

“We are ready to negotiate with them and if they accept our cultural rules and policies they can offer their services in Iran,” he said.

Assuming sanctions don’t get in the way, this move could make it significantly easier (and safer) for many Iranians to use services like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. And I’ll support any tiny step that encourages Iranians and non-Iranians to reach out, connect with, and better understand each other.

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Excellence Wrangler for Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. Linguaphile and Translator. Tester.