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Access to Google back to normal in Iran – news agency

BBC Monitoring

An official news agency has said that access to Google is back to normal in Iran after reports that the search engine was being blocked. Fars News Agency on 17 September quoted an official as saying the incident was a mistake and had now been resolved.

Some Iranian websites and blogs reported that the blocking of Google started on 16 September. Some reports said that Google was only being blocked on some (not all) ISPs in Iran.

In a post dated 17 September, Hanif Mazru'i, a well-known Iranian blogger, says: "In this country things occur overnight that you would be unlikely to see anywhere else in the world... The third-most visited site in the world and the second-most visited site in Iran is being filtered [blocked]; a site whose only crime is that it is a search engine. Alongside the filtering of Google, all its associated sites have also been filtered. Important sites such as Gmail, Google Reader, etc. have not been spared."

In a report in thi! s connection on 17 September, Iranian Students News Agency (0836 gmt) quoted comments by a number of directors of IT-related companies. A couple of them said that the problems in accessing Google may have had technical causes. Another said that Google was not on the list of websites that have to be blocked by ISPs in Iran.

The ISNA report added: "There have also been reports that Hojjat ol-Eslam Hamid Shariari, secretary of the Supreme Communications Council, has confirmed that Google is being filtered, but he refrained from making any comment about the reason for the filtering or the possibility of it being lifted. He deferred detailed explanations to some other time."

Fars News Agency (0841 gmt 167 Sep 07) reported: "The filtering [blocking] of Google which was taking place by mistake has been resolved. An official at the Communications Technology Company told Fars News Agency's economic affairs reporter: Because of a mistake, the Google site was experiencing! problems; the problem was resolved rapidly."

Source: BBC Monitoring research in English 17 Sep 07



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