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.

The Facebook and WhatsApp applications' icons are displayed on a smartphone on February 20, 2014 in Rome. The deal unveiled the day before worth up to $19 billion -- seen as the largest for a venture-backed tech startup -- gives Facebook entry into emerging markets and importantly keeps the app out of the hands of rivals like Google. US stocks rose modestly in early trade today as investors slammed Facebook's huge acquisition of WhatsApp and Wal-Mart Stores turned in disappointing earnings for the holiday season. 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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    .Net/ C# Developer/ Analyst Programmer - West London

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .NET/ C# .Pr...

    Graduate / Trainee Recruitment Consultant - IT

    £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Orgtel are seeking Graduate Trainee Re...

    Content Manager - Central London

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Central...

    Java Developer

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: JAVA DEVELO...

    Day In a Page

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
    Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
    Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

    Feather dust-up

    A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
    5 best waterproof cameras

    Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

    Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
    Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

    Louis van Gaal interview

    Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
    Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

    Will Gore: Outside Edge

    The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz