Since the implementation of the Geneva deal we’ve reported a bit on the startling rise in executions under Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, even as Iran engages more closely with the West. It’s not just the executions which have been getting worse: hopes that tolerance and openness would increase under Rouhani have also been dashed.
Examples? Iran Wire reported last week that an Iranian government body with the somewhat cumbersome name ‘Commission to Determine the Instances of Criminal Content (CDICC)’ kept bans on Facebook and Twitter use intact after determining “that they were doing harm to Islam and the people’s rights.”
Commission secretary Abdolsamad Khoramabadi even said Iranian FM Mohammed Javad Zarif “must not use such networks,” once said by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to be American tools intended to overthrow Iran.
It follows that ordinary Iranians are also limited in their use of such networks – to prevent “harm” to their “rights,” of course.
According to the Azeri Trend news agency, Rouhani’s censorship policy does not stem from a technological inability to use “smart” filters, but rather from an inability to agree on a unified filtering policy. Meanwhile, the situation remains virtually unchanged from the previous administration.
In addition, journalists and other media figures are being targeted by the new\old regime as demonstrated with the arrest just two weeks ago, of a famous reporter from the London-based Persian-language Manoto channel, apparently on drug-related charges. The case wasn’t reported in the English-language press.
Meanwhile, Saham News, a site run by opposition politician Mehdi Karroubi (still under house arrest), reported that only 4 percent of Iranians have broadband access. This, too, appeared only in Persian-language media.
Well, if Zarif isn’t supposed to be tweeting, what can ordinary Iranians expect? It’s just another day in Rouhani’s Iran – eerily similar to Ahmadinejad’s – where “harm” to civil rights is prevented by denying them.