Telegram could be looking at a nationwide ban in Iran. News of the ban began spreading after the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, announced via his official Telegram account that he was “leaving the service to safeguard national interest.”
If true, the ban will make Iran the second country to ban the popular messaging app after Russia. To recap, Russia had banned Telegram after its founder and creator, Pavel Durov, refused to share encryption protocols with the Russian government.
As it was with the Russian government, there is a sense of irony that comes with the ban. Telegram is the country’s most widely used app, with approximately 40 million Iranians (nearly half the country’s population) estimated to be it. It is also the population’s main social media source since Facebook and Twitter are effectively blocked in Iran.
Iran’s Supreme Leader (on Twitter as @khamenei_ir -filtered in Iran) announced on his Telegram page ‘https://t.co/aHXGlxNYEB’ this morning that his office will cease using the platform, and directs users to local alternatives like iGap, Soroush, and Gap to follow him #filternet pic.twitter.com/kRm6tCyhTB
— mahsa alimardani 🌒 مثلا (@maasalan) April 18, 2018
In his (last) official Telegram post, Khamenei also encouraged Iranians to move away from Telegram and migrate to other local platforms, such as iGap, Soroush, and Gap.