Iranian Court Orders Ban on Instagram

In latest censorship move, Iranian court orders photo-sharing app Instagram to be blocked over privacy concerns.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

AFP photo

An Iranian court has ordered that the photo-sharing app Instagram be blocked over privacy concerns, The Associated Press (AP) reported Friday, citing the semi-official Iranian news agency.

The agency said a court order, stemming from a private lawsuit, had been given to Iran's Ministry of Telecommunications to ban the site.

However, users in the capital, Tehran, still could access the application around noon Friday. Some previous reports in Iran of websites and Internet applications being blocked never materialized.

Officials with Instagram Inc. declined to comment Friday, according to AP.

Instagram is not the first online application to be banned in Iran, as the country is notorious for its internet censorship. Facebook is already banned in the country, along with other social websites like Twitter and YouTube.

Recently Iran reportedly banned the popular WhatsApp chatting application because of its connection to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, though the Islamic Republic later said it would allow use of the application.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who has attempted to show a moderate approach to the world, has indicated that he intends to revise Iran’s censorship policy.

In a speech he delivered a month before being sworn in, Rouhani said that a strong government does not “limit the lives of the people.”

Two weeks after his victory in the elections, Rouhani told a popular Iranian youth magazine that he believed social networking sites such as Facebook were a welcome phenomenon.

Senior government leaders like Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are active on Twitter, noted AP, and there are even Instagram accounts in the names of moderate President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)