A number of reports are coming out that say Iran bans Facebook ahead of election: Iran has blocked the use of the popular social networking site Facebook in a move critics claim is an attempt to muzzle the opposition ahead of next month’s election.
Blogs and websites have become an important campaign tool for Mir Hossein Mousavi, the leading reformist candidate, to mobilise Iran’s critical youth vote before the June 12 ballot.
Iranian authorities often block anything on the internet considered critical of the Islamic regime, but the timing of the latest move suggested it was done to target opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Mohammed Ali Abtahi, a former vice president, said: “Facebook is one of the only independent sources that the Iranian youth could use to communicate.”
Abtahi said the loss of Facebook – and possibly other web sites popular with reformists – will leave Iranians “forced to rely on government sources” such as state-run media before the election.
During the last presidential race in 2005, information about rallies and campaign updates were sent by text message. In recent years, political blogs by Iranians in the country and abroad have grown sharply.