A Grand Ayatollah in Iran has been looking up his copy of the Koran and decided that access to high-speed and 3G Internet is “against Sharia” and “against moral standards”.
Writing in his bog, Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, one of the country’s highest clerical authorities, issued a fatwa, stating: “All third generation and high-speed internet services, prior to realisation of the required conditions for the National Information Network, is against Sharia and against moral and human standards.”
Internet access has been an ongoing struggle between Iran’s hardliners, who retain key bases of power in the judicial, intelligence and security branches of government and wish to maintain strict censorship and control over all information. The problem is that more than half of the country’s 42 million Iranians use the internet.
Authorities frequently slow the speed of the internet as a means to render it effectively useless, thereby depriving the citizenry of the online access it needs for professional, educational, and commercial use. But at least their souls are safe and no one can get the information needed to question authority.
The Grand Ayatollah’s ruling might cause a few problems for president Hassan Rouhani who has said that Iranian people deserve better than to wait for information on the internet.
Conservative, religious, and security organisations and officials are terrified that they will lose control of their population if a faster internet is introduced. The also want the development of the National Information Network, (National Intranet) which was begun under the previous Ahmadinejad administration and will give the government total control over Internet access inside Iran.