/>
X
Home & Office

Iran blocks Foreign Office policy site

The Iranian government has blocked its people from seeing a Foreign Office website that discussed UK foreign policy.Foreign secretary William Hague said on Sunday that the blockage of the UK for Iranians site, which took place on the preceding day, was indicative of Iran's "ever-tightening stranglehold of censorship".
Written by David Meyer, Contributor on

The Iranian government has blocked its people from seeing a Foreign Office website that discussed UK foreign policy.

Foreign secretary William Hague said on Sunday that the blockage of the UK for Iranians site, which took place on the preceding day, was indicative of Iran's "ever-tightening stranglehold of censorship".

"I condemn this action by the Iranian Government," Hague said in a statement. "UK for Iranians was launched to reach out to Iranians, explaining, discussing and engaging with them on UK policy. We have no quarrel with the Iranian people and regret that the Iranian authorities fear their own citizens' interaction and involvement with the outside world."

Hague pointed out that the site blockage was "only a very small part" of the Iranian authorities' wider censorship of websites, email services, TV channels, literature and newspapers.

"It is not just Iranians who are the poorer for their government's censorship, but the rest of the world. We will continue to look for opportunities to engage with the Iranian people, confident that Iranians are outward looking and deserve the same freedoms that others enjoy around the world," the foreign secretary said.

Freedom of expression is often curtailed in Iran — in part thanks to surveillance technology sold to the authorities there by UK companies. Initiatives such as the Tor Project are actively working on helping Iranians bypass some of these restrictions.

Events in recent weeks appear to have demonstrated a tightening of the government's control, perhaps in line with worsening diplomatic relations between Iran and the west.

These developments have included the blockage of international web services that use secure connections, and a multi-pronged attack on the BBC that apparently involved a "sophisticated cyberattack" and the jamming of the UK broadcaster's Persian service.

Editorial standards