TEHRAN: The Iranian judiciary has issued a “total ban” on Telegram following a request from the security services, which argued that the encrypted messaging app has become a “safe haven” for terrorist cells, according to local media.
“Considering various complaints against the Telegram social networking app by Iranian citizens and based on the demand of security organizations to confront the illegal activities of Telegram, the judiciary has banned its usage in Iran,” the decision said, as cited by Iranian media. “All Internet providers in Iran must take steps to block Telegram’s website and app as of April 30.”
The judicial order envisages a “total ban” on the messaging app that would require the providers to ensure there is no way circumvent the restrictions, Mehr state news agency said.
The court also noted that the company operating the messenger repeatedly refused to cooperate with Iranian authorities in their investigations of various criminal activities, thus de-facto obstructing justice.
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) repeatedly warned that the Telegram messenger was often used by terrorists. In March, the FSB officers arrested members of an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) “sleeper cell,” who were communicating through Telegram. According to the FSB, the app was also used by the terrorist cell that carried out the April 2017 attack in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.