The Islamic Republic of Iran has announced it will introduce the first phase of its domestic Internet network by 21 May. The state-run Fars news agency quoted Iranian Minister of Communication and Information Technology Reza Taghipour as saying that the launch of the network is a priority of his ministry in the new Iranian year that started on 20 March.
Fars disclosed that works on a local data centre, search engine and domestic e-mail service are underway but did not give further details.
The project, labelled by many as the ‘halal’ Internet, filters out content deemed inappropriate un-Islamic.
Iranian officials insist the project would be “aimed at Muslims on a ethical and moral level”.
“Iran will soon create an internet that conforms to Islamic principles, ” Ali Aghamohammadi, deputy vice president for economic affairs said while adding the move will improve its communication and trade links with the world.
“The proliferation of the Farsi language is also a goal,” said Aghamohammadi, who also revealed that the proposed network would eventually replace the web in Muslim countries. He told IRNA: “The aim of this network is to increase Iran and the Farsi language’s presence in what has become the most important source of international communication.”
Iran, which has a population of more than 77,891,220 souls, has 36,500,000 Internet users as of June 2011 with a 46.9% penetration, as per IWS. Popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and video sites like YouTube are banned in the country.