Iran's internet restriction bill met with unprecedented backlash

Tehran, July 29, (dpa/GNA) - Following unprecedented backlash against legislation regulating the use of the internet in Iran, the speaker of parliament has sought to appease the population with a post on Instagram.

"All the media reports regarding this do not correspond to the facts," wrote Mohammed Bagher Ghalibaf on the app on Thursday.

According to Ghalibaf, popular online services such as Instagram and WhatsApp will not be blocked by the law, though their "technical parameters" will be examined by experts.

Ultimately, parliament will make a rational decision, said the speaker, who is currently in Syria.

Parliamentary hardliners pushed through the measure on Wednesday after lengthy negotiations and debate.

Its details are still to be finalized by a technical committee and then forwarded to Iran's Guardian Council for final approval as required by the country's constitution.

Officially, the legislation is about the supervision and nationalization of the internet, mandating the creation of Iranian alternatives to already popular apps.

Critics have dismissed the parliamentary debates as a distraction to conceal the measure's real goal, however, which they see as making it almost impossible for the population to access many popular websites and apps that are beyond the government's control.

The law would also require all internet users to be registered with the state and would ban the use of virtual proxy networks, which are widely used by Iranians to access unauthorized websites.

The internet has long been a thorn in the side of Iran's government as it has completely undermined the state's control of the media.