Iran has unveiled a video-sharing Web site for Persian speakers which may be part of its wider plan to build a national intranet separate from the world wide Web.
Newswire AFP reported Sunday that the Web site which is called "Mehr", meaning affection in Farsi, targets Persian-speaking users around the world and aims to promote the Iranian culture.
AFP said the Web site competes against Google's YouTube which has content that the Iranian regime has labeled as inappropriate. PCMag reported that Mehr only shows government-approved videos.
On the topic of Mehr, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) deputy chief Lotfollah Siahkali said: "From now on, people can upload their short films on the Web site and access [IRIB] produced material."
The report noted that Iran has consistently censored YouTube since mid-2009. The country has been shutting down access to several foreign Internet as it tries to set up a national intranet. In September, it cut off access to Google's search and e-mail services which was believed to be in retaliation for the Internet giant hosting an anti-Islamic video on YouTube.
The government moved its e-government services offline in early August to protect against cyberattacks. It was planning to move its e-government services to its national intranet but experts said such a move is "tricky" as it will limit the accessibility to such services for citizens.