Iran bans international email providers like Gmail and Yahoo! Mail


In another example of the censorship that lead to the country being declared the biggest enemy of internet freedom, the Iranian government is reportedly banning access to international email providers like Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail.

According to AFP, the Iranian telecommunications agency has ordered that banks, insurance firms and telephone operators in the country switch over to email providers with .ir domains, and cease contacting clients who are using international email providers. If people want to communicate with these businesses, they have to use an email address ending in, or Universities must use email addresses ending in and government entities should use addresses.

The move comes as part of a gradual shift towards disengaging Iran from the world wide web, instead requiring citizens to use a national internet which could be more easily controlled and monitored by the government. The government already censors the internet in the country and blocks access to certain sites it deems unfit for its citizens — including the official website of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Last month, Iran’s Communications Minister, Reza Taghipour, confirmed in an interview that the government was moving ahead with plans for the national internet, and would shortly shut off access to international search engines and email providers, requiring citizens to use government-controlled alternatives. The ministry denied these claims at the time, but it seems there was some truth in the reports.

There is no set date for the launch of the national internet, although some sources estimate Iran will be off the grid and functioning entirely on the local network by August this year.



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