WhatsApp banned in Iran after Facebook purchase because Zuckerberg 'is a Zionist'

Iranian censors have reportedly banned popular messaging app WhatsApp because Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, whose company recent bought the app, is an “American Zionist”.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the ban has triggered “an open dispute” within the Iranian government, especially in the light of President Hassan Rouhani’s recent shift towards more moderate policies for the Islamic Republic.

The ban was announced by the secretary of the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content Abdolsamad Khorramabadi who has been quoted as saying that "the reason for this is the adoption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist."

The evidence for disparate views regarding social media within Iran is clear to see online. Although Twitter has been banned in the country since 2009, President Rouhani maintains accounts in both English and Farsi, famously tweeting in September 2013 to announce a phone call between himself and US President Brarack Obama. The call was seen as symbolic of thawing relationships between Iran and the West, although the tweet was later deleted.

Facebook bought Whatsapp for $19 billion in February this year.

Even Iran’s most senior religious and political figure, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei uses the microblogging service; recently publishing messages on topics form the need for higher teachers’ salaries to commemorative messages on the anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands.

Twitter and Facebook were banned in the country after ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009 triggered protest across the country. The social networks were seen as instrumental in organizing ordinary citizens and are still accessed in the country through the use of proxies.

In March the country’s Islamic Guidance Minister Ali Jannati declared that 4 million Iranians were already using Facebook and that the country needed to unblock the sight, referencing the failed banning of tools such as fax machines following the 1979 revolution.

“We cannot restrict technology’s advance under the pretext of protecting Islamic values,” Jannati told a meeting of Iran’s chamber of commerce.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Implementation Consultant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global leading software co...

    Recruitment Genius: Implementation Consultant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global leading software co...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Coordinator

    £23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global leading software co...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Projects Engineer

    £18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent