I saw first hand the futility of the Mullahs’ efforts to prevent Internet access by Iranian youth when I was in Tehran at the height of the Arab Spring. But what is new is that it’s the Minister of Culture who is highlighting the hypocrisy and futility.
According to “The Iran Primer,” a website and publication of the United States Institute of Peace, “Iran is one of the most tech-savvy societies in the developing world, with an estimated 28 million Internet users, led by youth,” the site says. “Iran boasts between 60,000 and 110,000 active blogs, one of the highest numbers in the Middle East, led by youth.”
The Iranian authorities admit, reluctantly, that it is almost impossible to rein in Iranians who are eager to know about the outside world and know how to use alternative means to gain access to the web. “Four million Iranians are on Facebook, and we have restricted it,” Mr. Jannati said in a speech in March in Tehran. “The preservation of Islamic values cannot be used as an excuse to stop the growth of something in the country.”
Mr. Jannati also cited the 71 percent of Tehran residents who have satellite dishes and watch foreign television, which is also illegal. “This means that millions in the capital are committing a crime every evening,” he said.