One day after the Iranian state news agency quoted an Iranian internet official as saying “According to the court’s ruling, the Zionist director of the company of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), or his official attorney must appear in court to defend himself and pay for possible losses,” an Iranian prosecutor now says Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is not being called into court.
Ali Alghasimehr, Shiraz chief prosecutor, was quoted in the official IRNA news agency as saying the Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) founder was not summoned to court and the company’s applications such as Instagram and WhatsApp are permitted in the Islamic nation, contradicting previous statements from government officials.
After official news agency quoted government official as calling “Zionist” Zuckerberg into court, an about face
As reported yesterday in ValueWalk and Reuters, a local court in southern Iran was said to have called Zuckerberg, calling the confirmed atheist a “Zionist.” In the article ValueWalk noted the political dynamic at play between the more moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who opposes Internet censorship, and that of the more conservative Iranian court.
As of noon yesterday in Iran, users in Tehran could access all Facebook owned properties, the Associated Press is reporting. While Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is officially outlawed in Iran, as well as other social websites that promote free speech including Twitter and YouTube and their their mobile apps. However, many Iranians skirt the censorship by using proxy servers to access the banned websites and applications.
Moderate Rouhani fights internet censorship
While outlawed, some senior leaders such as Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Iranian president Rouhani are active Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR).
The administration of the moderate Rouhani has publically expressed opposition to blocking social media websites before authorities create local alternatives, indicating that regardless Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) may have a limited life expectancy in the controlled society. Rouhani has been active on social media, using it in part as a tool to reach out to the West during negotiations with as it negotiates with the US and Europe over the country’s disputed nuclear program. It has also allowed him to communicate to the Iranian people without official news filter.
“We should see the cyber world as an opportunity,” Rouhani said last week in an IRNA news agency report. “Why are we so shaky? Why don’t we trust our youth?”
Hard-liners claim Rouhani of failing to stop the spread what is described as a “decadent” Western culture in Iran. The statement that Zuckerberg is not being summoned into court, reversing previous conservative dogma, could be viewed as a victory for Rouhani and an embarrassment for those forces who jumped the gun in attacking Zuckerberg.