Twitter Inc (TWTR) Unblocked in Iran as Sanctions Lifted

Twitter Inc, (TWTR)

Twitter Inc  has been blocked for most Iranians for years. The only way Iranians could access the website, as well as others, was through virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass the controls. Since sanctions have were lifted, a growing number of Iranians are beginning to send out 140-character tweets.

Twitter, Websites Unblocked for Iranians

Journalists, business owners and day-to-day Iranians can rejoice. After it was reported that the Iranian government met the terms of a nuclear deal that would see it curtail its program, U.S. and European officials lifted sanctions.

Google Inc (GOOG) and Twitter Inc (TWTR) News Partners

Iran has had a long history of Internet censorship. With sanctions recently removed, it’ll be a gradual process.

Negar Mortazavi, an Iranian journalist and analyst, tweeted that it appears Twitter is unblocked for some but not all.

“Twitter is unblocked in Iran for some users but not all. It’s happened before. May be a glitch or the beginning of an end!”

Arthur MacMillan, Tehran deputy bureau chief of Agence France-Presse, told the London Telegraph that some websites, like YouTube, are working on a Wi-Fi connection. He noted that social media websites, including Facebook and Twitter, have yet to come online. At the same time, users say the Twitter website and app are working for some users. Many theorize this is just a minor glitch and it will soon be solved so most would have access to these outlets. Twitter has yet to comment on access to the social network. Some experts say this is more than a technical glitch. For the past number of weeks, many have wondered if the Iranian government would allow its people to communicate openly and freely with the rest of the world after so many years of isolation.

Iran’s History of Censorship, Lack of Access

Iran has imposed Internet bans and restrictions on its people for a long time. It has followed in the footsteps of North Korea and China.

In Iran, there have been brief periods of access to the online world. For instance, back in late 2013, Iranians realized they could access Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter after a four-year ban. One day later, though, the government brought back restrictions, citing technical faults.

Since the 2009 presidential elections, which saw global protests, citizens have been unable to access Twitter, YouTube or Facebook.

Of course, even with the bans, Iranians could still click on websites by taking advantage of VPNs. These hide the location of an Internet user, which is something many citizens of countries with Internet bans utilize. Reports suggest that a majority of Iranians have used VPNs to use Facebook and Google+.

As in many cases, the public officials do have access to Twitter. This is something that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey made fun of in an exchange with President Hassan Rouhani in a 2013 tweet.

“@HassanRouhani Good evening, President. Are citizens of Iran able to read your tweets?”

“Evening, @Jack. As I told @camanpour, my efforts geared 2 ensure my ppl’ll comfortably b able 2 access all info globally as is their #right.”

What country is next in unblocking Twitter? This is the next question that remains unanswered.

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