Iran seeks its own state-run internet

Iran is taking steps to insure that the polluting thoughts of freedom and openness are kept out of the homes of their citizens by establishing its own version of the internet.

Wall Street Journal:

The unusual initiative appears part of a broader effort to confront what the regime now considers a major threat: an online invasion of Western ideas, culture and influence, primarily originating from the U.S. In recent speeches, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other top officials have called this emerging conflict the "soft war."

On Friday, new reports emerged in the local press that Iran also intends to roll out its own computer operating system in coming months to replace Microsoft Corp.'s Windows. The development, which couldn't be independently confirmed, was attributed to Reza Taghipour, Iran's communication minister.

Iran's national Internet will be "a genuinely halal network, aimed at Muslims on an ethical and moral level," Ali Aghamohammadi, Iran's head of economic affairs, said recently according to a state-run news service. Halal means compliant with Islamic law.

Mr. Aghamohammadi said the new network would at first operate in parallel to the normal Internet-banks, government ministries and large companies would continue to have access to the regular Internet. Eventually, he said, the national network could replace the global Internet in Iran, as well as in other Muslim countries.

Not even China has taken such drastic steps, although they may watch Iran to see how successful they are. I suppose it was inevitable that the technological advances brought about by the internet would eventually lead to the means to squelch it. For democracy advocates, it means trying to develop a work around with the help of others outside of the country.

But for the ordinary Iranian, the opportunity to be exposed to alternative ideas and ways of living will virtually disappear.