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Iran Minister Says Calls Blocked for Security Reasons

Iran Minister Says Calls Blocked for Security ReasonsIran Minister Says Calls Blocked for Security Reasons

Telegram messenger voice calling feature was blocked before the Iranian presidential election on May 19 due to security reasons, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi said without elaboration.

Iran's popular smartphone-based messenger application Telegram launched its voice calling feature on April 13. However, the app's voice call feature was immediately cut due to concerns about its security.

Vaezi said the decision was taken by the judiciary "without consulting other government authorities" and noted that only the Judiciary could now revoke the order, Mehr News Agency reported Monday.

Several western governments, including Britain, have raised concern over the use of Telegram messenger by the so-called Islamic State fighters in their countries. One report on May 25 in Huffington Post said that following the suicide bombing attack in Manchester last month, pro-ISIS Telegram channels were seen to be busy with more activity. The terror group that has been spreading death and destruction all the way from Afghanistan to America claimed responsibility for the attack.

Telegram has become one of the militant group's primary tools for disseminating information and luring backers and bank-rollers.

Other instant messaging applications like Skype and WhatsApp both offer similar services, with WhatsApp recently launching video calling services to compete with Skype, which has offered the service for several years.

Local startups are also looking to fill the void in the most popular messaging app's arsenal to their advantage, and one firm called iGap is offering its own messaging and voice calling service. So far that firm has seen over 60,000 downloads on local Android app store Café Bazaar.

Some 40 million Iranians are believed to have downloaded Telegram since its launch.

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