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Tehran Prosecutor Files Charges Against Telegram CEO


SPAIN -- Pavel Durov, the founder of the VKontakte social network and encrypted Telegram messenger, delivers a keynote speech during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 23, 2016

Prosecutors in Tehran have filed charges against Pavel Durov, the CEO of the popular messaging app Telegram. The authorities allege that the app is spreading extremist propaganda and child pornography and delivering uncensored news.

ISNA has quoted the Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi saying that the charges against Durov are because the app’s popularity with the Islamic State group, child pornographers, human traffickers and drug smugglers. Dolatabadi also told ISNA that "Telegram's assertion that it follows Western laws does not prevent charges being pressed against it.

Durov who lives in Russia says that “real reasons” behind the charges are different and his organization has been in touch with the Iranian authorities. Durov tweeted on Tuesday that Telegram actively blocks terrorist and pornographic content in Iran.

Popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter and many websites are blocked in Iran. However many young Iranians actively evade censorship through virtual private networks and other tools. Telegram promotes its service as highly encrypted and secure from government surveillance.

According to a poll carried out by the Iranian Students' Polling Agency in March 2017, at least six out of 10 Iranians use social media - 55 percent of whom use Telegram.

With reporting by AP

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