Iran’s clerical regime parliament is planning to pass an internet protection bill that will restrict the country’s internet and online freedoms.
The bill, now called the “Cyberspace users rights protection and regulation of key online services” will bar citizen access to international services, primarily social media and further allow the regimes security apparatus to control Internet gateways in order to intensify suppression of dissent.
This comes after two nationwide protects that altered the foundations of the regime in 2018 and 2019 when people called for regime transformation and democracy.
There was also a public uproar in Iran over the brutal crackdown on citizen journalists with support from the Iranian opposition that aired the regime’s actions to the public which now the regime terms as handing over power to social media.
The Iranian government has since imposed several policies including internet blackouts to prevent further social media protests to stop spreading to other parts of the world.
In a July 2021 speech by the Mullahs’ supreme leader, Ali Khamenei according to Tasnim News Agency says” The cyberspace and social media are out of our control. This is a [serious issue]. Social media shouldn’t be used any way [people] want. Like water, it should be channelled properly. Others are now managing social media, and we shouldn’t stand idly by,”
While the goal of the current regime to adopt the new bill is to prevent the ruling theocracy downfall. It is likely to cause a huge economic implication to Iran.
The Internet protection bill will disrupt the economy of Iran. Over one million Iranians depend on social media to run their businesses.
The bill if approved will lock out international companies that host unregistered social media apps in Iran as well as risk penalties.
Other speculations around the bill adoption also point out streams of bad leadership that want to impose personal businesses to take over the Iranian telecommunications market.
“Nepotism and corruption also play a role. Abbas Moradi, Sina Kalhor, Massoud Fayazi, and Ruhollah Momen are some notable individuals and relatives of regime officials behind the measure. They promote “domestic social media platforms.” as reported by NCR Iran.