Gmail blocked in Iran?

Has Gmail been blocked in Iran in the run up to Friday's election?

by The Humph on 13 June 2013 14:40

Spare a thought for Iranian leadership.  Maintaining control in that part of the world must be tough, what with the electorate having six whole candidates to choose from to replace Ahmadinejad. How can continuity be ensured? Anything could happen.

Well, maybe not anything. The candidates are pre-approved by the Guardian Council (no relation to the newspaper) after all. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Hence new reports have emerged of disruptions to Gmail services in Iran just days before the election. Initial Twitter reports on Tuesday, from a group called “Iran News Update”, suggested that Gmail had been blocked completely and that virtual private network connections had been disrupted.

Since then Google has confirmed that, while a complete block of Gmail services appears out of the question, it has at least noticed a drop in connectivity to the email service from inside Iranian borders, echoing the controls placed over communications around the time of the 2009 election.

What exactly the authorities are concerned about is unclear, given that the election process is, shall we say, controlled. Perhaps they simply don’t want any naughty words or sentiments exchanged in the lead up to tomorrow’s election. Still, it’ll do no harm to Iran’s ranking of 174th on Reporters Without Borders' press freedom index. Somalia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Eritrea and North Korea beware; Iran has you in its sights. 

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