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Iran bans foreign email services

Applies to Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail and any other foreign email providers

By CBR Staff Writer

Iran has banned local banks, insurance firms and telephone operators from from using foreign email services to communicate with their clients.

AFP cited an Iran based specialist weekly, Asr Ertebatat as saying the telecommunications minister has ordered the use of domain names ending with .ir.

The latest order restrains banks, insurance firms and telephone companies from using foreign email hosts such as Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail or MSN for their sites.

As per the order any company looking to communicate with such firms must now use email addresses ending in iran.ir, post.ir or chmail.ir.

The Iranian government must use gov.ir or .ir addresses, while universities were instructed to use emails ending in ac.ir or .ir, the new agency stated citing the weekly.

The country’s Ministry of Telecommunications has reportedly announced plans to launch a countrywide "national information network" through its own search engine and messaging system.

The system is expected to be running by May, and is aimed at making local companies independent from foreign Internet operators, in order to further restrict and control Internet access in the country.

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In April, Iran has blocked the official website of 2012 London Olympics, preventing access to the site in the country, over claims that the logo spells the word ‘zion’, representing a veiled pro-Israeli conspiracy.

In February, the country blocked all encrypted international websites outside of Iran that depend on the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol ahead of parliamentary elections.

The move affected Email, proxies and all the secure connections that depend on the SSL protocol, which display addresses beginning with "https.", and also made Virtual Private Networks (VPN) inaccessible.

Last December, the location of the hosts of more than 90% of Iran’s governmental internet sites was transferred inside the country, for protecting governmental information.

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