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IRAN: China will reportedly provide for assistance in developing the country’s domestic internet

In Iran, a 25-year partnership agreement with China will reportedly provide for assistance in developing the country’s domestic internet, the National Information Network (NIN). Under development for over a decade, the NIN had its first major trial when Tehran imposed an internet blackout in response to mass protests last November, with mixed success.   

The NIN is a domestic intranet network and firewall system supported by local servers.  Officials claim that the NIN aims to shield and protect Iran against foreign cyberattacks, provide stable and fast local internet to citizens and promote Islamic content on a network free of immorality, corruption and violence. In practice, human rights activists fear it is being used to tighten censorship and control freedom of expression. To some degree, in trying to replace global services with local versions, Iran is emulating China (although less successfully). However, by seeking the capability to separate its Internet from the world entirely, Iran’s model is more akin to the Russian alternative domain name system project. 

Tehran will step up efforts to extend the penetration and integration of its NIN project. Further expansion would lower the costs of imposing an internet blackout if there is a new round of popular protests, preventing leaders from coordinating demonstrations and recording human rights abuses. Washington will struggle with the contradiction between its long-term global internet freedom agenda and the negative impact of sanctions

Source: Oxford Analytica


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