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Iran Reported To Be Negotiating With Twitter To Unblock Popular Website

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Iran's new communications minister has said that negotiations are under way to stop blocking Twitter, which has been banned for years despite being used by the country's top leaders.

The microblogging platform was barred in 2009 after mass protests broke out against the reelection of former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi told the state-owned Iran daily newspaper on August 22 that Twitter was ready to "negotiate to resolve problems."

"Twitter is not an immoral environment needing to be blocked," Jahromi, 36, was quoted as saying.

Jahromi is Iran's youngest minister after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Previously he had lauded the social networking website for being a great tool in public diplomacy and communicating with the people of the world.

Under the Islamic Republic, platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter remain officially banned even as millions use them daily through easily obtained anti-filtering software.

Iran's Supreme Council of Cyberspace, which is headed by President Hassan Rouhani and overseen by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is in charge of blocking websites.

Even so, Rouhani and Khamenei both have Twitter accounts administered on their behalf.

Jahromi told the newspaper that officials were also looking at ways to unblock YouTube while still censoring "immoral content." He said a pilot project would allow universities to access the site.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP