Iran Filter Backfires, Blocks Khamenei's Fatwa on Antifiltering

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The Irani government's aggressive mission to censor internet access within the country took a turn toward irony yesterday when it filtered out a message from Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The censored message? Khamenei's fatwa against the use of antifiltering tools in Iran.

Radio Free Europe reports that Khamenei's fatwa was blocked from Iranian websites a mere 30 hours after it was published. Apparently even using the word "antifiltering" is sensitive enough to trigger Iran's automated censoring system.

The irony of the whole situation spools together even more, though, because a member from a news agency wrote to Khamenei's office stating that some professionals, such as journalists, may need to use antifiltering tools in order to visit blocked websites that need to be viewed. Mehr asked what the religious decree would be in that specific case, to which Khamenei replied, "In general, the use of antifiltering software is subject to the laws and regulations of the Islamic republic, and it is not permissible to violate the law."

Merely mentioning the religious ruling on antifiltering filtered out Khamenei's statement. In order for Mehr or anybody else to actually read Khameni's statement on antifiltering tools, as RFE points out, the Ayatollah's followers would have to use antifiltering software to access it.


Iran's spent the better part of the past year (and more) muzzling access to a free internet, going so far as to build its own national internet that will include only government-approved content. Now, the authorities' vigorous effort to censor and control the dissemination of information in the country appears to be cannibalizing the government.

[Via Ars Technica.]

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