0740 GMT September 18, 2021
Top Iranian officials criticized a plan tabled and passed by the Parliament to protect the rights of users in cyberspace and organize social media messengers in the country, saying any opposition or resistance against science and technology would fail to produce favorable results.
Last week, the Iranian Parliament approved a plan titled ‘protecting the rights of users in cyberspace and organizing social media messengers’, which has provoked both positive and negative reactions inside the country.
Commenting on the plan on Saturday, Iran’s First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said it is impossible to fight science and technology, IRNA reported.
These two fields, he added, are in need of precise governance and regulations.
Jahangiri described Internet as the means and manifestation of seeking justice in the country, saying in case the bandwidth and cyberspace infrastructure had not been expanded and developed over the past eight years, Iran would have faced numerous problems.
“When we encounter a new phenomenon, we are required to refrain from thinking solely about its political and social side effects and impacts and prohibiting its use.”
The first vice president stressed that reliance on modern technologies, such as IT and ICT, leads to greater transparency, saying in the present-day world, it is impossible to hide an issue from people or impose one on them.
In similar comments on the same day, the Iranian president’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, said any effort aimed at countering the cyberspace is doomed to failure.
He added access to data communication is among the basic citizenship rights and any effort aimed at threatening this right is doomed to fail.
Turning to criticisms voiced about the plan in the country, Vaezi said it is clear that the people have not been yet convinced about what the designers of the plan say about its contents.
“Neither has the public opinion been provided with a reliable text about the details of the plan yet.”
He added it was quite natural and necessary to protect the users’ rights in the cyberspace and pass laws aimed at ensuring the space’s safety and addressing ethical concerns.
Commenting on the plan and concerns about it in an Instagram post on Thursday, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf gave the assurance that the legislative body does not seek to block access to popular and highly used social media platforms, such as Instagram and WhatsApp.
He called on experts and those involved in the field to refrain from adopting oppositional stances under the influence of untrue statements and bids to distort the reality.
Qalibaf noted that in light of the importance of the issue for the country’s people and the need for having experts’ opinions, the plan will be discussed in an open session of the Parliament attended by a selective group of MPs and representatives of the new administration, which will take office under President-elect Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi on August 3.