In an attempt to block what it calls the infiltration of Western ideas, the Iranian government may soon completely remove its citizens' access to the internet, replacing it with an internal network.
If this happens, Iran’s cyber-space would be completely isolated completely from the rest of the world. But observers have pointed out that a complete disconnect faces plenty of hurdles, but technical and practical.
According to reports, the Iranian telecommunication chief recently announced that all of the country’s homes and businesses with Internet connections will be forced to adopt this new fully-internal and state censored network within two years.
Iranian internal-affair observers speculate that this could be the outcome of a frightened regime witnessing how the internet contributed to the Arab Spring.
Iranian government officials claim that they are adopting this change to counter the “invasion” of Western ideas that could damage Islamic moral values.
Many analysts have said that social networking helped demonstrators mobilise in Egypt and Tunisia, though other argue that the sites' impact has been overstated.
Syria initially took the opposite approach, lifting bans on social networking sites in the face of rising protests, though this may have only been a ruse by the government to make it easier to spy on political organisers.