TEHERAN – Iran has lifted a ban on instant messaging application Telegram, official news agency IRNA reported on Sunday.
The ban on the application, which the government had accused of helping mobilize widespread anti-government protests in December, was lifted on Saturday night.
Users in Iran can once again use the app on their mobile devices without the help of virtual private networks (VPNs) or other similar tools to avoid government filters, EFE had verified.
Telegram has more than 40 million users in the country and was one of the media used toward the end of December to organize protests against rising inflation and corruption in the country.
Clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces had left at least 20 people dead, while more than a thousand were arrested.
Iranian Deputy Interior Minister for political affairs, Esmaeil Jabbarzadeh said on Dec. 31 that the restrictions were temporary and was a logical move during a moment of crisis.
“When there is a conflict, the use of some tools to control illegal gatherings is natural,” he told IRNA.
Shortly after that, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, contacted Telegram officials to inform them that the application could continue in the country if they would eliminate Telegram accounts which were “terrorist” in nature.
Amadnews, a popular Telegram channel which published information and images related to the protests, was accused of inciting violence and was suspended, which led founders of Amadnews to open two new accounts.
Instagram, which is also very popular in Iran, was also temporarily blocked by the government during the protests.