Report: Iran blocks VPN access to Gmail, Yahoo

March 12, 2013 - 8:29 AM
Mideast Iran Internet

FILE --In this Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 file photo, Iranians surf the web in an internet cafe at a shopping center, in central Tehran, Iran,. Iranian authorities have blocked many foreign-based virtual private networks, or VPNs, severely restricting access to many websites. The VPNs are illegal in Iran but offered a path for Iranians to freely use the Internet, access banned opposition websites as well as popular sites such as Facebook. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian authorities have blocked many foreign-based virtual private networks, or VPNs, severely restricting access to many websites.

The VPNs are illegal in Iran but offered a path for Iranians to freely use the Internet, access banned opposition websites as well as popular sites such as Facebook.

A report Tuesday by the independent Donya-e Eghtesad daily quotes lawmaker Ramazan Ali Sobhani as saying his parliamentary committee in charge of communications will review the results of the block on VPNs, which went into effect last Wednesday.

Sobhani says the block restricted access to some international email services such as Gmail and Yahoo in some parts of the country.

Since the street unrest that followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's 2009 re-election, Iran has tightened restrictions on VPN use and occasionally blocked them.