‘Hamshahri’, the Iranian state website, reported on August 15 about the latest number of Iran’s internet users. They explained how they calculated their figuers, “If Iran’s population is assumed to be 75 million, the latest studies show that nearly 55.5 million people are internet users while 37.5 million have an internet subscription. The ADSL penetration rate has reached 20.72 percent, whereas the mobile internet has the highest share of internet connections with a penetration rate of 31.83 percent, accounting for  nearly 24 million users.”

Is the increase in the number of users related to the regime’s repression? Some say that the more the internet users are put under pressure by regime’s judiciary and security forces, the more they turn to online sources, especially those belonging to Iran’s resistance and PMOI.People want to  have access to reliable and free information.

The regime’s Attorney General, Mohammad Jafari, says, “unfortunately, the cyberspace is being used by many foreign currents as a path to hit the system. The enemy is taking advantage of the internet to inflict on us various types of social harms, including blasphemy. A soft war has been waged against us in this regard,” this, according to Tasnim news agency, December 7, 2016.

He also acknowledges regime’s policies regarding censorship of the internet and social networks, adding, “considering the Attorney General’s responsibility, there is a close relationship with the Cyber Police with regard to the internet, so that 13-14 thousand websites are blocked each week due to violations.”

Many internet service providers refuse to transfer their servers to Iran, as deploying the servers in Iran means allowing the regime’s security and intelligence bodies to have access to users’ identities, as well as a collection of other information available on social networks. The popular Telegram social network has refused to have any kind of collaboration with the Iranian regime.

While complaining about this fact, the Attorney General says that, “one of the reasons for (regime’s) inability to cope with the social networks is that their servers are not located in Iran.” 

The regime’s policies and huge investments have failed.  An increasing number of social network users, who in addition to challenging the whole system, are able to access important sources of information from inside the country.