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Iran’s approaching vote brings receding Web access

May 27, 2013 • Business


FILE – In a Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011 file photo, Iranians use internet in an internet cafe in central Tehran, Iran. With the presidential elections on June 14, 2013 looming to pick Ahmadinejad’s successor, the Web firewalls are closing in even more. Iranian authorities appear to be stepping up blocks on the main outlets for many Iranians: Virtual pathways to servers outside Iran that open access to outlawed sites such as Facebook, BBC’s Persian service and websites from what’s left of Iran’s opposition Green Movement. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — From a computer keyboard in London, an Iranian emigre plays the role of counselor, social media guru and all-around adviser for Internet users back home seeking ways around the cyber-blocks set up by authorities in Tehran. These have been busy days.

His Twitter account — which goes under the handle of Nariman Gharib — registers a steady stream of calls for help from Iran and responses about new proxy servers, dial-up modems and other possible workarounds. The goal is to defeat Iran’s Internet clampdowns, which have intensified in the approach to presidential elections on June 14.

“Here is a new link for Siphon,” he wrote, describing a site that directs users to a server outside Iran. Minutes later, replies stream back that it worked on Android systems but not PCs. He sent a tweaked Web address.

“Hope this works,” he wrote.

State controls on the Internet in Iran are nothing new. Authorities have steadily tried to choke off social media and political opposition sites — among others — since they became tools for protesters alleging vote rigging after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election four years ago.

Now, with the election to pick Ahmadinejad’s successor looming, the constraints are drawing even Login to read more

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