Theocratic countries have blocked Google’s products left and right, but a new report from Reuters today indicated Iran is lifting its one-week-old block on Gmail due to a flurry of official complaints.
According to Reuters:
Iranian authorities have reopened access to Google Inc’s email service a week after blocking it, a government official and Iranians said on Monday.
Iran maintains one of the world’s largest Internet filters, blocking access to tens of thousands of websites on the grounds that they are criminal or immoral, but the block on Gmail had even prompted complaints in parliament.
Gmail reportedly went live again for Iranians Sunday night, after an official announced on Sept. 23 that Iran would block YouTube throughout the country “until further notice.” Committee Member Mohammad Reza Aghamiri told the Mehr news agency that Gmail’s ban was an ” unintended consequence” of trying to block YouTube. Various local news agencies attributed the banning of YouTube to a controversial anti-Islam film posted on Google’s video-sharing platform.
The YouTube video apparently portrayed Mohammad as a womanizer and a religious hoax, and its not-so subtle message caused frenzy throughout many Muslim regions including Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai promptly condemned the film and claimed freedom of speech does not permit the disrespect of Islam.
Despite the lifting of Gmail’s block, Aghamiri said, “We absolutely do not want YouTube to be accessible. Therefore the telecommunications ministry is trying to find a way to solve this problem so that it can block YouTube in the HTTPS protocol while leaving Gmail accessible.”