Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has appealed to the country’s religious leaders to embrace 3G internet after a prominent cleric used his website to denounce the technology.
Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi warned that rolling out 3G access in Iran would allow citizens to access “negative features,” “immoral photos,” as well as “spying.”
3G networks began to spread rapidly with the rise of the smartphone in 2007. By June 2007, over 200 million people were using the mobile data network around the world, thanks to its high-speed delivery of data to mobile phones.
After being petitioned by activists, the ayatollah posted a statement on his website that slammed 3G as “un-Islamic” and violating “human and moral norms.” The claims come at a tricky time for Iran’s government, which is attempting to modernize the country through improved internet access. Three companies are reportedly involved trying to bring 3G access to Iran, although at present only a small number of Iranian citizens are using 3G networks.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, speaking on Monday at a gathering of clerics, urged the country’s religious leaders to embrace technological change, warning them that Iran can’t “close the gates to the world.”
Ayatollah Shirazi is one of Iran’s most outspoken critics of internet reform, although he is perhaps best known for issuing a fatwa against domesticated dogs. The cleric had previously rallied against video calls and social networks, in April the ayatollah told a gathering of politicians that “using modern tools and devices to communicate with each other is not forbidden by Islam, but social networking sites are originally developed by the Western governments for reasons other than communications.”
In 2013, Ayatollah Shirazi joined three other clerics in issuing a fatwa against 3G provider RighTel for providing 3G access to Iran. The clerics accused the company of being corrupt, as well as enabling Iranians to download pornography.
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