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Iranian regime introducing domestic email system

The Iranian government (opens in new tab) is to give every citizen their own personal email address, it has emerged.

The Islamic regime says only these new addresses can be used for dealing with government agencies online, although it is not clear at this stage whether the issuing of the addresses will have any effect on the personal email addresses already held by citizens.

Issuing personal email addresses for all state-to-citizen business will obviously make it easier for the government to document all communications with its citizens. The government says it will be building data centres all over the country to support the new system, reports Sky News (opens in new tab).

The news adds to fears that Iran will become increasingly isolated from the rest of the online world, since Iranian officials have previously announced plans to switch the country onto a separate, domestic Internet network.

Iranians, like Chinese citizens, already have their Internet access to the world wide web heavily filtered (opens in new tab). Filters in Iran block content, often from the West, deemed to be illegal or "offensive".

Over half the country's population of 75 million use the Internet. Until recently, a number of them used special software to get round state filters, but the government has now managed to block many of these tools.

President-elect Hassan Rouhani, who is seen as a relative moderate in Iran, has previously called for less state intervention in people's private lives, including less Internet filtering and a loosening of press regulation.

Communications minister, Mohammad Hassan Nami, said of the national citizen email distribution, "For mutual interaction and communication between the government and the people, from now on every Iranian will receive a special email address.

"With the assignment of an email address to every Iranian, government interactions with the people will take place electronically."

The email addresses, using the "" domain, will help maintain "citizens' privacy", he claimed.