(JTA) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has rejected a plan to ban the free text-messaging service WhatsApp.
The plan was approved by an Iranian censorship committee and then announced Sunday by Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, head of the country’s Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content.
“The reason for this is the assumption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist,” Khorramabadi reportedly said Sunday.
Access to Twitter and Facebook, and other social networks, as well as other controversial websites, are often blocked by Iranian authorities. Iran does not ban Facebook, however. Rouhani has been active in recent months on the social networking site as well as Twitter.
Iran’s Telecommunications Minister Mahmoud Vaezi said Wednesday that Rouhani had ordered a stop to the proposed ban of WhatsApp, until there is something to take its place, the French news agency AFP reported, citing the Arab-language, reformist daily Sharq.