Tehran’s Web of silence

AS TEHRAN’S nuclear crisis grabs headlines, an ominous development is taking place inside Iran: the escalation of state repression against Iranian dissidents online. The hard-liner administration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stepped up the arrest of political dissidents, who have used the Internet as an alternative medium to express their views against the Islamic Republic. Coupled with their suspicion of the international community and continued attachment to a dogmatic vision of an Islamist society, the recent developments raise concern over the extent to which hard-liners are determined to muzzle dissent in cyberspace, thereby advancing their sphere of influence over Iranian civil society – especially over women’s rights and human rights groups that have suffered the most in the latest attacks.


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