Did Iran Just Ban Online Chatting?

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Farzaneh Khademian / ABACA

A portrait of Ayatullah Khamenei on a wall at Iran's Interior Ministry

Did Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, just ban online chatting between unrelated men and women? Both the Jerusalem Post and the exiled opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran website — not exactly unbiased sources on Iranian affairs — say he has. The “ban” is sourced to a response the religious leader gave to a question submitted to his website by a conflicted follower. “Given the immorality that often applies to this, it is not permitted,” Khamenei answered. But a religious ruling does not an official ban make. Fatwas, or religious opinions disseminated by clerics, are not binding. So while Khamenei might discourage his followers from online chatting, for fear that it might lead to flirtation, or worse, he is not likely to order Iran’s religious police to start patrolling chat rooms and looking over texter’s shoulders.

If Iran’s leadership were serious about stopping potentially licentious chatting, they would do something more draconian, like banning the technology that makes it possible. Oh wait, they already did: WeChat, a popular smartphone chatting app was blocked last month, the latest in a long list of social media tools, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, that Iranians are unable to access without the use of proxy servers. That is, most Iranians. Khamenei, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his voluble Foreign Minster Javad Zarif are active Twitter and Facebook users. Perhaps they should all be more careful about responding to their unrelated female followers.

110 comments
Natalie TGoodman
Natalie TGoodman

cannot believe this …..now i do after watching the documentary about Iran and how people live there, especially woman…..

jenniferherrera78
jenniferherrera78

Funny how those supporting this while voicing their oppinions are in fact having a online conversation with strangers themselves.

Nazanin Ghadiri
Nazanin Ghadiri

We do not follow him instinctively. We are forced to do so. We have no power to confront them.

George Saiz
George Saiz

one person trying to control another person is a disease of the mind.. the disease also spreads rapidly to anyone who believes or allows it to happen

George Saiz
George Saiz

makes perfect sense.. one person trying to control another person is a disease of the mind

George Saiz
George Saiz

makes perfect sense.. online chatting you never know who or what is on the other end..

Craig Benson
Craig Benson

a respectable move, I personally wouldn't go as far as to cease it but rather make laws against adultery and make the penalty extremely severe.

Kotaro Minami
Kotaro Minami

good idea. look at amurica, moral's total collapsed, people and animal act no different. disgrace for human race

Burcu Gültekin Burris
Burcu Gültekin Burris

its the easiest way to control people who are ready to sacrifice themselves. so sad.

Fadi Adami
Fadi Adami

Quite a joke & what next. Well you are living in the 21 century & not in the stone age . Queer minds that refuses to be in our current age.

Burcu Gültekin Burris
Burcu Gültekin Burris

im not sure it is true or not, but i read something that published by ayatollah. is it true that he said " animal owners can have intercourse with animals, but they cannot eat it but sell it to other villagers? "

Sasha Jaafari
Sasha Jaafari

Persians know that at the moment they are in an unfortunate state. The West had the Shah removed when he was seen as being no longer favourable and the CIA had him removed and replaced wit the Ayatollah who they thought they could control. However they very quickly realised they messed up their relationship and the region and that's where we are today. Most Persians love Western culture and ideals, but their country is in a bind and they already attempted to take back their country and failed recently.

Sasha Jaafari
Sasha Jaafari

And replace them with what Joshua? Something even worse?

Stephen Gates
Stephen Gates

These fundamentalists use the fear of religion to dictate and abuse their people. I am afraid Islam isimploding on itself.

Kiana Lashgari
Kiana Lashgari

uh there was talk a few years back that they were making an Islamic Facebook where girls and boys were separated... but maybe it was just a joke... but this guy bans everything, who cares?! We do what we want, when we want it!

Brad Soltani Arabshahi
Brad Soltani Arabshahi

Joshua Murch, I see your questions are simplistic. It's not so black and white. The q is not WHO. Is "why" Hezbollah is being funded.

Joshua Murch
Joshua Murch

I am not embarrassing my self i do read. I see for you this is a big joke. Maybe Iran needs new coup. Get these fundamentals OUT!!

Brad Soltani Arabshahi
Brad Soltani Arabshahi

Joshua Murch, Stop embarrassing yourself and read the wiki link I posted. Enough arguing with U. lol

Brad Soltani Arabshahi
Brad Soltani Arabshahi

"Iran also fund terrorism" LMAO ... Iran cannot feed it's own people, while It is estimated that since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, the US has given over $4 billion to the Palestinian Authority. Do the math!

Ahm Shakil
Ahm Shakil

chatting between unrelated man and woman creates illegal sexual relation. so it perfect decision, i salute him

Joshua Murch
Joshua Murch

@Mohsen Faghfoor Maghrebi but what can we do? This is the question of defeat. Look through history relize what people have done then ask your self what if these people said "but what can we do?" Then nothing would change.

Mohsen Faghfoor Maghrebi
Mohsen Faghfoor Maghrebi

@Jashua Hey watch it we realize it but what can we do ? What can russian people do they know putin is in control of everything but he has the power

Mohsen Faghfoor Maghrebi
Mohsen Faghfoor Maghrebi

Im Iranian Yes its true . . . The software wechat that people used to date is cut off and filtered and its not accessible without proxies and anti filters

Joshua Murch
Joshua Murch

Iran also fund terrorism or maybe you are to blind to see this. Or i guess you call them "freedom Fighters" Also these people that listen to a government that is run by a fiction book needs to wake up and start listening to science will then get my respect. I live in 2014 not in the past. I do have authentic info. I live in turkey now and have been in the region. Iran may not be like saudi but the mentality are similer. Supress thinking. knowlege and freedom of choice.

Mark Dyer
Mark Dyer

I know quite a bit dude. Where do you think I live, a cave? I stand by my assessment.

lunawatson85
lunawatson85

If only it were that easy! Too bad Khamenei has himself ingrained into every facet of Iranian society and governance. 

mikevolze
mikevolze

Wouldn't be a bad idea.  Stop a lot of the funding that terrorists throughout the region have been receiving.

lunawatson85
lunawatson85

Stop kidding yourself. Iran funds Hezbollah and is aiding and supporting Assad's forces in Syria.

mikevolze
mikevolze

Check out Reuters, they did a piece on the Iranian shadow economy run by the Ayatollah, you're right they can't feed their own people, but, the Ayatollah has enough money to fund the nuclear program and terrorists on the side.  The government is poor, but the Mullahs and IRGC are very well off.

lunawatson85
lunawatson85

wow you sound just like his crazy mullah buddies.