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Iran’s Plan for ‘Halal’ Internet Slammed By U.S.-Iranian Group

27/4/11 www.foxnews.com

Iranian authorities have reportedly announced they intend to launch an Islamic Internet to counter the influence of the Western-dominated World Wide Web, a move slammed as “repressive” by the National Iranian American Council.

Ali Aqamohammadi, head of economic affairs for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, announced the plans during an interview this month with state news agency IRNA.

Iran will soon create an Internet that conforms to Islamic principles, to improve its communication and trade links with the world,” Aqamohammadi said. “We can describe it as a genuinely ‘halal’ network aimed at Muslims on an ethical and moral level. The aim of this network is to increase Iran and the Farsi language’s presence in what has become the most important source of international communication.”

Reza Marashi, research director at the National Iranian American Council, a Washington-based nonpartisan organization, said Iranian authorities have been working on such a proposal for at least two years.

“This  is what repressive governments do, they try to withhold information from their people,” Marashi told FoxNews.com. “It’s very black and white — you either support Internet freedom or you don’t. If you restrict access on the Internet, you’re not on the right side of the issue.”

Marashi said he believes the proposal will be difficult to achieve in the near future.

“You have to give people a choice at the end of the day,” he continued. “That’s what it’s all about.”


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