Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 28th November 2014.

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Photo of Guto Bebb Guto Bebb Conservative, Aberconwy

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the extent of restriction of access to the internet in Iran.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Iran systematically filters and restricts access to the internet. Millions of websites are blocked, including social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Many Iranian citizens find technical ways around the restrictions but their online activity can put them at risk. In May 2014, eight Iranians were sentenced to a combined 123 years in prison for their Facebook activities. Charges included blasphemy, insulting the Supreme Leader, and spreading propaganda against the system. We urge Iran to allow freedom of expression, and respect the rights of all its citizens in line with its international obligations. We most recently raised our concerns around freedom of expression during Iran’s Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council on 31 October.

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