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Iran threatens to totally cut Web access

April 10, 2012 at 5:23 PM

TEHRAN, April 10 (UPI) -- Iran may completely cut millions of Internet users in the country off from the Web, and from social networks and e-mail services, analysts said.

In a statement last week, the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology said a national intranet would be established within five months in an effort to create a "clean Internet," the International Business Times reported Tuesday.

"All Internet Service Providers (ISP) should only present National Internet by August," Reza Taghipour said in the statement.

Web sites such as Google, Hotmail, and Yahoo would be blocked and replaced by government-administered services such as Iran Mail and Iran Search Engine, the IBT report said.

A subsequent IBT story carried an Iranian ministry response calling the report "completely baseless," CNET.com reported.

"The report is in no way confirmed by the ministry," the ministry stated, saying the original report came from the "propaganda wing of the West."

Censorship is nothing new for Iranian Internet users, who found the government had cut off access several times earlier this year.

Taghipour had told the Islamic Republic News Agency in January a firewalled national Internet would soon be in place but gave no specifics of the timing, CNET.com said.

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