London, Nov 20: Iran has blocked access to more than five million Internet sites because they are immoral and anti-social," according to reports. The Iranian ban includes many news sites, Sky News reported.
Internet service providers have been told over the years to block access to political, human rights and women's sites, as well as anything deemed pornographic or anti-Islamic. The country's 21 million Internet users will now also be prevented from viewing weblogs expressing dissent, along with popular sites as Facebook and YouTube. Abdolsamad Khoram Abadi, an advisor to Iran's prosecutor general, was quoted as saying: "The enemies seek to assault our religious identity by exploiting the Internet, which inflicts social, political, economic and moral damage, which is worrying."
Iran's reformist press was hit by a massive crackdown in 2000 and many journalists turned to blogging after their publications were shut down, Sky News said.
Sobh-e Sadegh, the publication of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, said: "The Internet, satellite and text messages played an important role in colour revolutions in Serbia, Ukraine and Georgia."
It added that Internet search engines Yahoo and Google, along with the BBC, CNN and international news agencies Reuters and Associated Press operated as "tools of diplomacy conducted through media."
The magazine accused the European Union of seeking to "develop anti-Iranian cyber space" by supporting dissident bloggers.