New York: Iran is moving towards introducing a new aggressive form of censorship - a national Internet that could, in effect, disconnect Iranian cyberspace from the rest of the world.
The unusual initiative appears part of a broader effort to confront what the regime now considers a major threat: an online invasion of Western ideas, culture and influence, primarily originating from the US.
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the Iranian leadership also sees the project as a way to end the fight for control of the Internet.
Iran, already among the most sophisticated nations in online censoring, also promotes its national Internet as a cost-saving measure for consumers and as a way to uphold Islamic moral codes.
The WSJ quoted Reza Bagheri Asl, director of the Telecommunication Ministry’s research institute, as telling an Iranian news agency that soon 60 percent of the nation’s homes and businesses would be on the new, internal network.
Within two years it would extend to the entire country, he said.
Ali Aghamohammadi, Iran`s head of economic affairs, said the new network would at first operate in parallel to the normal Internet—banks, government ministries and large companies would continue to have access to the regular Internet.
Eventually, he said, the national network could replace the global Internet in Iran, as well as in other Muslim countries.
A spokesman for Iran`s mission to the United Nations declined to comment further, saying the matter is a "technical question about the scientific progress of the country”.