Iranian Cyber Official Reza Taghipour: Letting Telegram and Instagram Take Over Our Cyberspace Was a Strategic Mistake; Telegram Provides Terrorism Instructions

January 23, 2018

Reza Taghipour, a member of Iran's Supreme Cyberspace Council, criticized what he called the "serious strategic mistake" of not establishing a national Iranian information network. This, he said, was what had led to the foreign-owned Telegram and Instagram networks "taking over" most of Iran's cyberspace, necessitating a request to the "foreign, non-Muslim" CEO of Telegram, Pavel Durov, to shut down his messaging app within Iran. The interview with Taghipour aired on Iran's Channel 5 on January 14.

Reza Taghipour: "[Telegram CEO Pavel Durov] is of Russian origin. Those in charge of our cyberspace have said, over the past five years, that most of our cyberspace has been taken over by Telegram and Instagram. This was a serious strategic mistake. Those in charge, who have apologized for things in the past... If only they would apologize to the people and say: We made a mistake regarding our national information network. We had legal responsibility [to establish a local network], according to a law legislated in 2010. In addition, the people have often demanded this. However, we have not established such a network. If we had, we would not have reached the point where our top [cyberspace] official needs to ask [Durov], who is a foreigner, a non-Muslim - let me stop here and apologize to the viewers for my language...

"He would not have had to ask him to shut down [the Telegram] channel, and would not have had to hear the answer: I'll look into it. This is a channel that our beloved people use to get updates. This channel teaches how to torch mosques, gives orders to engage in terrorism, and orders the production of Molotov cocktails. It is not just one or two cases. There are lots of reports about this. Look at what is going on behind the scenes. How come this man lives in the Emirates? What? He just packed his bags and moved to the Emirates?"

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