Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi says the Iranian government should avoid unblocking social networking sites especially Facebook and Twitter in the country.
According to local media reports, Internet users in Iran are currently using VPN services to circumvent the Internet filtering system imposed by the Iranian government.
“Over the past few years, many people have asked the government to unblock Facebook. It is better for the Iranian government not to take the risks associated with unblocking social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter,” Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi said in a meeting with Iranian MPs on Monday.
“Users of Facebook and Twitter don’t adhere to Islamic rules. Unblocking these websites will allow more people to open accounts in social networking sites. I strongly believe that the Iranian government should make the best decision with regard to Facebook and Twitter,” Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi added.
It is worth mentioning that Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has already opened an official fan page on Facebook. His page has received over 700,000 likes from Iranian users.
“In my opinion, we all need to respect Islamic values. Using modern tools and devices to communicate with each other is not forbidden by Islam, but social networking sites are originally developed by the Western governments for reasons other than communications.” Ayatollah Shirazi concluded.
Iranian officials have already accused Facebook and Twitter of sharing users’ data with intelligence agencies. Accordingly Facebook has also been accused of spying on users with the help of the CIA.
According to the statistics released by the Iranian government, Iran has over 40 million Internet users. This number is expected to increase by more than 20% in next few years.
In recent year, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi has made numerous comments about new technologies. Earlier January this year, he asked the government to stop RighTel, the first 3G mobile operator of Iran, from offering the video-call service to its subscribers.