Iranian news agency Al-Monitor reported that authorities in the country are planning on banning Telegram, however president Hassan Rouhani has countered this, declaring that this blocking the app isn’t the right move.
At the end of March, member of parliament Alaeddin Boroujerdi spoke against Telegram in an interview, saying that there was an apparent decision to block the app which was made “at the highest levels” and said that “Telegram will be replaced by a domestic app.”
In response to this, the Iranian president said that while having secure and affordable Iranian messaging applications that can “solve people’s needs and problems” will result in national pride, the way to achieve this is not to block other applications but instead there should be a focus on the elimination of one company monopolizing the industry.
Jalal Mirzaei, a Reformist member of parliament, expanded on Rouhani’s statement, saying “[the] president said that we shouldn’t make society anxious by these types of actions, and if there is any problem, we should solve it prudently” Rouhani is also considering the implications a ban would have and that they “shouldn’t forget that 200,000 job opportunities will be lost by blocking Telegram.”
One of the major concerns surrounding Telegram in the country is linked to security. Nerves are further emphasized by the theory that the app played a role in sparking protests that ran across the country in December of last year.
On the other hand, Hassan Firouzabadi – the secretary of Iran’s High Council for Cyberspace (HCC) – spoke on state TV favoring the prospect of blocking the app, saying “Telegram never [agreed] to have an office in Iran and refused to work with the private sector [in Iran] and it is an enemy of the private sector.”
Since the HCC is the taskforce regarding policymaking on internet related matters, this is not a weightless opinion. Firouzabadi also said that Iran is the only country in which Telegram is the dominant messenger application and he is concerned that it “will undermine the national currency of Iran.”
Money talks and with Telegram’s recent massive financial support for its initial coin offering there is bound to loud opinions about the controversy of the application, whether it be from the perspective of industry leaders or the standpoint of governments.