The Iranian government plans to permanently suspend Google email service in Iran. Iran’s telecommunications agency announced the suspension. They agency is planning to roll out a national email service for Iranian citizens. Google confirmed that, they experienced a sharp drop in email traffic in Iran and that some users in Iran were having trouble accessing Gmail.
The report comes as Iran braces for new opposition protests during rallies marking the 1979 Islamic revolution. Protesters made use of modern networking tools such as Twitter and Gmail instant messaging last June after a disputed election plunged Iran into crisis. The Opposition leaders have called on supporters to take to the streets on Thursday, raising the risk of renewed violence.
It is rumored that, all instant messaging services have been blocked for at least three days. Mobile phone testing services also seem to be coming to a halt as texting is feared to be used to post to Twitter. Tomorrow marks the anniversary celebration of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. [More at Reuters, WSJ]