Iran's President Presses Clerics: Accept Internet, Don't Close Gate to Youth

Rohani has been urging hardliners to embrace the Internet rather than view it as a threat.

Reuters

Iran's president, continuing his efforts to ease the country's restrictions on the media and the Internet, called on the country's clerics to accept new technologies

“In today’s world, one who does not know the Internet and does not apply it is not called an expert even a student," the Associated Press quoted President Hassan Rohani as saying in a speech broadcast Monday on state TV. "We cannot close the gates of the world for the younger generation."

Rohani was elected president of Iran in June 2013, espousing views more moderate than those of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. Social media were widely used in the protests that followed Ahmedinejad's disputed 2009 reelection, and the country's leaders cracked down against Internet users.

In May 2014, Reuters reported that Rohani challenged hardliners within the republic, saying Iran should embrace the Internet rather than see it as a threat.

He said that trying to win the battle for public influence by restricting the Internet was like bringing a wooden sword to a gunfight, Reuters reported.