In Box

Iran’s Gossip Ban

After a camera apparently caught über-famous Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi having sex with her boyfriend late last year, it didn’t take long for the images to be posted on the Internet and circulated via cell phones. Soon, rumors were floating that the Iranian government had responded by forming a special police unit to monitor ...

After a camera apparently caught über-famous Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi having sex with her boyfriend late last year, it didn’t take long for the images to be posted on the Internet and circulated via cell phones. Soon, rumors were floating that the Iranian government had responded by forming a special police unit to monitor mobile phones. The rumors were unfounded. "We do not have a mobile [phone] police either in Tehran or anywhere else in the country," says Tehran’s police chief, Ahmad Reza Radan.

But that hasn’t stopped the government from embarking on an unpre-cedented crackdown on cell-phone technology. In April, the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution ordered the Iranian Telecommunications Ministry to purchase technology that can filter multimedia messages, or MMS, sent by cellular users. MMS messages are those that contain still images, audio, and video. The council said the measure was necessary to prevent "immoral actions and social problems."

Cell phones with built-in cameras are also increasingly being banned. In some cities, you are no longer permitted to carry such high-tech gadgets inside beauty salons or sporting events. And there are to be no more famous actresses caught in the act. Tehran recently announced that Iranians who violate the private lives of celebrities could face execution. Which means people might want to delete those extra messages in their cell phone’s inbox.

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola