Iranian government officials are reportedly discussing a possible move to ban Telegram messenger, due to concerns its proposed token could be a considerable threat to the national currency.
The Telegram messaging app is a favorite app in Iran and is previously scowled upon by some government officials for its alleged role in the staging of rallies in the country in December 2017.
After a new record-breaking ICO (initial coin offering) in which the company has already amassed $1.7 billion, Telegram has plans to use the money to develop an ambitious blockchain platform aimed at decentralizing features of digital communication and which will be powered by its own token called “gram.”
As reported by US-based news platform Al-Monitor, Hassan Firouzabadi, secretary of the Iranian High Council for Cyberspace, on April 4, pushed for Telegram to be banned in Iran on state TV, stating the firm’s dominance in the country was “the enemy of the private sector.” He added that Telegram’s proposed cryptocurrency would undermine the national currency of Iran.
Parliament member Alaeddin Boroujerdi said on March 31, according to the source, that the move to ban the Telegram messaging app was a judgment call taken at the highest levels, and a locally developed app will replace Telegram.
In response, Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani reportedly said at a meeting of government officials that the goal of developing and enhancing Iranian software and messaging apps should not be blocking access to other apps, but the aim should be to eliminate monopolies.
Rouhani was also reported to have said Nobody is opposed to breaking Telegram’s monopoly, but blocking Telegram is not the solution for developing and enhancing local messaging apps.