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Middle East

Iran cabinet ministers all sign up to Facebook - despite social media site being banned

Hope of a more open approach to the internet from new government after 15 ministers sign-up

Iran's entire cabinet has opened Facebook pages in a move that could signal greater openness from the new government - even though the social media site is blocked in the Islamic Republic.

The pages of 15 ministers could be viewed in Tehran through a proxy server. Newspapers have hinted that the move might herald the lifting of some internet barriers.

Centrist- and reformist-backed President Hasan Rouhani has also set up a profile following his election victory and inauguration.

Hard-liners see the internet as a possible corrupting force, but many Iranians use proxies to access banned sites.

Meanwhile, a UN nuclear agency chief has told Iran it was "essential and urgent" for it to engage with his inspectors on their concerns about suspected nuclear bomb research and to provide access to a key military site.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the IAEA was committed to working constructively with Mr Rouhani's government to "resolve outstanding issues by diplomatic means".