Iran has connected its government agencies to its domestic Internet network to improve the nation's cybersecurity posture and will now move its citizens to the online platform. It also said it blocked Google's search engine and e-mail services.
Reuters, citing the Mehr news agency, reported on Sunday Iran's deputy communications and technology minister Ali Hakim-Javadi said in recent days, all governmental agencies and offices have been connected to the "national information network".
The second phase of the plan would be to connect its citizens to the network, Hakim-Javadi added. The report added the domestic Internet system would be fully implemented by March 2013, but it was not clear whether access to the World Wide Web would be cut once this is deployed.
At the same time, a government official known only as Khoramabadi said on state television that "Google and Gmail will be filtered througout the country until further notice" and this will kick in "within a few hours". He did not give further details, Reuters noted.
A check on Google's Transparency Report site showed no signs of these two services being restricted in Iran though.
In early August, the Iranian government said it was taking its e-government services offline as sensitive intelligence was vulnerable on the public Internet. It said it will move key ministries and state bodies onto a national intelligence network which it hoped to develop into a national intranet.
The Iran government has also tried blocking Internet access to foreign news sites and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter several times earlier this year, but many Iranians use proxy servers over virtual private networks (VPNs) to circumvent these restrictions.