As fresh sanctions and economic turmoil loom, Iran has launched its harshest crackdown on the Internet yet, the Wall Street Journal finds. Internet cafes have been told they have 15 days to install security cameras and begin collecting information on users. Many sites have been blocked and Iranians may soon find the Internet as they know it gone completely: Tehran has been readying a "halal" domestic intranet to replace the West-tainted Internet. State media this week reported that it was being tested (and, notes the Journal, could be behind an observed Internet slowdown); some reports say it is set to go live within weeks.
Tehran has also stepped up its denunciation of the West in response to the European Union's proposed ban on Iranian oil, the New York Times reports. The actions of "bullying nations" are tantamount to "an economic war," officials said. Iran, "with divine assistance, has always been ready to counter such hostile actions, and we are not concerned at all about the sanctions," the country's foreign minister told reporters. He added that Iran is ready to reopen talks on its nuclear program, a move EU ministers see as an attempt to buy time.