UK Accuses Iran of Blocking British Diplomatic Website

Three days after the British government launched the website "UK for Iranians," the site was blocked promptly in Tehran, Reuters reports. British Foreign Secretary William Hague was featured on the website in a video with giving a message to Iranians. Said Hague in a statement, "I condemn this action by the Iranian government. We have no quarrel with the Iranian people and regret that the Iranian authorities fear their own citizens' interaction and involvement with the outside world."

The website, which aimed “to explain the UK’s policies towards Iran, whether on human rights, the nuclear issue or developments elsewhere in the Middle East," was launched on 14 March. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also launched Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts alongside the side. The UK government hoped that the site would offer an "undistorted view" of British foreign policy regarding Iran and the rest of the Middle East.

Most critics see the block as another instance of growing censorship in the Iran, censorship that has gotten increasingly restrictive in the past few months as diplomatic relations between Iran and western countries grow worse. The BBC's Persian service among others is already blocked all over the country. It is likely that the Iranian government sought to block the diplomatic website in response to the UK's firm opposition to Iran's nuclear program. As a preemptively hostile act before the nuclear talks to be held next month between Iran, Britain, and other EU nations, the block is just another instance of Iran's restrictive online censorship measures.