Iran Says It's Banning Gmail
Tehran promises to unroll national email service instead
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2010 3:56 PM CST
Iranian protesters attend a demonstration in front of the Italian Embassy in Tehran, Iran, as police officers stand guard, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010.   (AP Photo/Fars News Agency, Hossein Salehi Ara)
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(Newser) – Iran today declared a "permanent suspension" of Google's Gmail service. It's not yet clear if the regime has the technical ability to block Gmail, or if the ban is merely a bellicose threat. Tehran's telecommunications agency said a national email service for Iranians would soon be set up to take Gmail's place. No word yet from Google.

Authorities said the Gmail ban was meant to boost local Internet technology and build trust between the regime and the populace, the Wall Street Journal reports. It's more likely, however, that the suspension is part of the crackdown ahead of tomorrow's revolution anniversary, at which large anti-government protests are expected.