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Government to assign email addresses to all Iranians - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A photograph made available on 08 July 2013 shows an Iranian man surfing the web in an internet cafe in Tehran, Iran, 28 April 2013. Source: EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

A photograph made available on July 8, 2013 shows an Iranian man surfing the web in an Internet cafe in Tehran, Iran on April 28, 2013. (EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh)

Dubai, Reuters—Iran is to assign all citizens an individual email address which the communications minister said on Monday would aid interaction between state authorities and the people.

It was unclear whether the move would add to regulations on Internet use imposed by a conservative Islamist leadership wary of secular cultural influences it blames on the West.

President-elect Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate who takes office next month, has called for less state intervention in people’s private lives, including less filtering of the Internet and a loosening of media controls.

More than half of the Islamic Republic’s 75 million people use the Internet, official figures show. But authorities have tried to limit access with tools including a filter that blocks many websites on the grounds they are offensive or criminal.

State authorities in March blocked software used to get around the filter. Many people said they experienced unusually slow Internet speeds ahead of the June 14 election, a phenomenon critics saw as an apparent attempt to make it harder to organise pro-reform candidate rallies via social media.

Communications Minister Mohammad Hassan Nami did not say whether the national email addresses would be mandatory or how they might affect Iranians’ use of their own private addresses. But he said the official addresses must be used for electronic communication with government agencies.

“For mutual interaction and communication between the government and the people, from now on every Iranian will receive a special email address,” the semi-official Mehr news agency quoted Nami as saying. “With the assignment of an email address to every Iranian, government interactions with the people will take place electronically.”

The email addresses, using the “mail.post.ir” domain, will help maintain citizens’ privacy, he said. Data centres are to be set up throughout Iran to support the new system.

Officials have also announced plans to switch Iranians onto a domestic Internet network which would be largely isolated from the World Wide Web. Rouhani’s view of this move is not known.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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