Best VPN for Iran. Get Iranian IP. Bypass Censorship. Unblock Telegram, Social Media.

PureVPN Deal Important Note!
Because Iranian ISPs block “unofficial” VPN services, you need port forwarding or custom protocols specifically designed to hide VPN connection since advanced obfuscation methods are required to bypass the most advanced filtering attempts. To reiterate, OpenVPN might not work unless it’s obfuscated (masked) to look like normal HTTPS traffic. Please read our guide in full to successfully unblock VPN on the most restrictive networks in Iran.

Additionally, even though VPN providers listed below can effectively bypass VPN block in Iran, their websites and apps might be inaccessible from within Iran. This means that you won’t be able to download VPN apps from app stores. If you are outside of Iran planning to travel there, it is best to setup the VPN before before you head for Iran.

Once in Iran, try using Google Translate to access the websites and purchase a subscription. Google will act as a proxy that will likely unblock VPN websites.

Best VPN with servers in Iran:

CyberGhost and ZenMate VPN are the only secure, high-speed providers with virtual VPN servers in Iran. If you would like to get an Iranian IP address, please get CyberGhost or ZenMate VPN subscription.

Iran is one of the most restrictive governments in the world that blocks access to a number of websites, using the commercial filtering package SmartFilter (made by the US-based company, Secure Computing) as the technical engine of its filtering system.

Managed by the Ministry of Information Communications and Technology, state owned Telecommunication Infrastructure Company (TIC) is a monopolist that maintains all Internet gateways into Iran. The government blocks a wide range of websites – political opposition and activism, news, search engines, social networks and video sharing platforms, VoIP and messaging apps, pro-democracy, human rights, women’s rights, LGBT, porn, gambling, online dating.

In order to increase mass surveillance, the Iranian government setup the National Data Centers, that provide the authorities with full access to data flow, and discourages the use of SSL certificates issued by legitimate sources, while developing their own national SSL security certificates.

Iran government SSL

Even though certain non-approved websites and services are accessible, Iran deliberately throttles Internet speed to deter people from using these services. Iranian users may experience massive speed drops of 85-100% when they try accessing international resources, especially video sharing, messaging and VoIP.

VPN is generally an excellent tool to bypass Internet censorship and unblock restricted websites. However, Iranian surveillance and filtering system can detect unusual traffic patterns and block it. VPN traffic is different from regular traffic, encryption protocols use designated VPN ports, rendering most VPN services unusable in Iran.

For this reason, in order to bypass even the strictest Iranian firewalls, only VPN services that offer either port forwarding or advanced VPN masking tools to hide VPN use altogether can provide a stable VPN service without interruptions.

VPN is currently the best technology to circumvent government imposed censorship, unblock apps and services such as Telegram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit. We complied the list of VPN providers with advanced capabilities that are known to provide the best service in Iran. If you are on a very restrictive network that blocks VPN use altogether, we will discuss how to bypass restrictive firewalls in Iran later in this article.
 

VyprVPN GoldenFrog Logo

Get 81% off VyprVPN  

ANNUAL PRICE: 2.50 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.95 USD

Switzerland based VyprVPN is a leading no logs VPN provider with over 700 ultra fast servers worldwide that support gigabit VPN speed (1,000Mbps). VyprVPN was independently audited by Leviathan Security that confirmed VyprVPN to be a no logging VPN service. Unlike most VPN providers, VyprVPN doesn’t rely on 3rd party hosting – they own and manage their own VPN servers.

With over 200,000 IP addresses in 64 countries, VyprVPN offers a fantastic choice of VPN locations. For Iranian VPN users who need a Middle Eastern IP address, VyprVPN has servers in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel.

In addition, VyprVPN is an excellent provider to bypass even the strictest firewalls that block VPN connection in Iran. For this purpose VyprVPN designed a proprietary VPN protocol called Chameleon. The protocol scrambles OpenVPN to hide VPN use and make it undetectable via deep packet inspection (DPI). Chameleon allows you to use VPN on very restrictive Iranian networks that completely block VPN, which are ubiquitous in the Middle East.

VyprVPN infrastructure is amazingly fast offering ultra fast gigabit speeds and low ping times for high speed HD streaming. Being one of the fastest VPN services, VyprVPN boasts some of the best VPN speeds. VyprVPN has dedicated streaming servers that can bypass Netflix proxy error and also work with BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Spotify.

To read a full VyprVPN review click HERE.

 

PureVPN Logo

Try PureVPN for $0.99  

TRIAL: 0.99 USD
ANNUAL PRICE: 6.49 USD/mo

Hong Kong based PureVPN is a no logs VPN service that was independently audited by Altius IT, a leading California-based independent Certified Information Systems Auditor. Altius IT team members are experts in higher-level network security audit, risk management, assessment, and security consulting services.

PureVPN has 2,000 high-speed VPN servers in 140 countries with over 50 servers located in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Oman. Hence, PureVPN offers the best selection of Middle Eastern IP addresses.

Secure high-speed PureVPN infrastructure offers advanced security features for anonymous Internet use. PureVPN custom apps have a built-in WebRTC, IP and DNS leak protection. Kill switch is feature that guards the users from unencrypted data leaks when the internet connection drops. PureVPN even has a DDoS protection add-on.

PureVPN has a port forwarding feature that allows you to forward your encrypted VPN traffic through port 443 (typically reserved for encrypted browsing). PureVPN, thus, can unblock restricted websites and bypass Internet censorship in Iran.

Additionally, the provider considered the importance of uninterrupted streaming by introducing Dedicated Streaming add-on that will boost streaming speed and enhance performance. PureVPN optimized streaming servers are best to get a buffer-free streaming experience in Iran.

PureVPN is also one of the few VPN providers that can effectively unblock Netflix. For this purpose PureVPN setup dedicated Netflix servers. At the moment the provider can unblock Netflix USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Japan.

In case you want to limit your VPN use to specific websites/services only, Split Tunneling feature lets you decide which applications to send through unencrypted channel and which one to secure with an encrypted VPN service.

Split tunneling is commonly used in case you need an Iranian VPN for torrenting only. More so, PureVPN offers over 60 dedicated torrenting servers and a port forwarding feature to maximize your upload and download speeds.

To read a full PureVPN review click HERE.

 

NordVPN Logo

FINAL SALE: 70% off NordVPN  

ANNUAL PRICE: 3.49 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 11.95 USD

Panama based NordVPN is one of the best security oriented VPN companies with amazingly fast infrastructure. NordVPN is a no logs VPN service that was independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG based in Zurich, Switzerland (one of the Big 4 auditing firms) to back the claims that they don’t log identifiable user information under any circumstances. Additionally, NordVPN offers a Double VPN – a privacy feature that sends your Internet traffic through two VPN servers, encrypting it twice.

NordVPN offers over 5,000 servers in 62 countries, dedicated & shared IP types, and 6 simultaneous logins. When it comes to the Middle East, NordVPN has servers in the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Turkey. So if you need a Middle Eastern IP address, NordVPN is a perfect choice as you can connect to one of these VPN servers.

NordVPN implemented a strict no logs privacy policy, offers double data encryption, obfuscation tools and other advanced security features. NordVPN obfuscated VPN servers are a perfect choice to use on restrictive networks in Iran. These VPN servers are generally recommended for countries that block VPN altogether because the technology can bypass even the most advanced network firewalls.

NordVPN Obfsproxy servers not only unblock VPN on strict firewalls, they also hide OpenVPN and make your VPN use completely undetectable in Iran. Neither your ISP nor the Iranian government will know that you are using VPN.

NordVPN can, therefore, bypass Internet restrictions, online censorship and network firewalls in Iran. NordVPN can unblock Telegram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and other blocked websites.

Besides, NordVPN has a Smart Play technology offering an encrypted connection to access geo-restricted content on Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Spotify and similar services. If you are a torrenting user, NordVPN has torrenting VPN servers as well.

To read a full NordVPN review click HERE.

 

ExpressVPN Logo

Get 3 months FREE with ExpressVPN  

ANNUAL PRICE: 6.67 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.95 USD

Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN is an excellent no logs VPN service for privacy oriented VPN users who want to protect their data from government surveillance, bypass censorship and access restricted content in Iran.

ExpressVPN has been independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a top team of security audit experts with access to ExpressVPN servers’ codebase to verify their no logging claims. The audit also checked that TrustedServer technology operates as described. TrustedServer is a name ExpressVPN uses to describe their security tech that has VPN servers running on RAM only (not on hard drive). TrustedServers are wiped every time they are rebooted, which eliminates any possibility that the government could seize VPN servers and access sensitive user data.

ExpressVPN has Middle Eastern VPN servers in Algeria, Egypt and Israel along with technology that hides VPN use. The provider wraps OpenVPN into SSL and reroutes VPN connection through HTTPS port 443. This setup completely hides VPN use from network admins in Iran and makes your VPN traffic appear as regular encrypted Internet browsing, thereby, making ExpressVPN a perfect choice for VPN users in Iran. Assuming your restrictive network blocks VPN protocols and VPN ports, ExpressVPN can unblock VPN on virtually any network.

ExpressVPN custom apps have a built-in DNS leak protection to ensure that no data is leaked while the app is running. Even though ExpressVPN is extremely reliable, kill switch is another useful feature that guards your real IP address from leaking.

ExpressVPN is a perfect choice for high speed Netflix streaming. The provider can unblock Netflix USA and UK, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and a number of other streaming services.

Additionally, the provider has one of the fastest infrastructures with over 3,000 servers in 94 countries. Ultra fast ExpressVPN is one of the few VPN services with VPN network that supports gigabit Internet connection, making it a perfect choice for ultra high speed streaming and torrenting.

Overall, this ultra fast infrastructure, dedication to security, and a number of software features definitely makes ExpressVPN the best VPN service for Iran.

To read a full ExpressVPN review click HERE.

 

TorGuard VPN Logo

Get 10% off TorGuard VPN Lifetime Deal  

ANNUAL PRICE: 4.49 USD/mo [promocode]
MONTHLY PRICE: 8.99 USD

Offering over 3,000 servers in 55 countries, all mainstream protocols and top-notch security, TorGuard rightfully earned its place as a top VPN provider. To get a Middle Eastern IP address, TorGuard offers VPN servers in Israel and UAE.

No logs TorGuard is a reliable, fast and secure VPN service for Iran. TorGuard desktop apps have a kill switch feature that actively monitors your Internet connection to protect you from accidental IP leaks when your WiFi is unstable.

Stealth VPN is a technology that TorGuard uses to bypass Deep Packet Inspection firewalls, such as those typically used by Iranian government to censor and restrict online content. Consequently, TorGuard is a highly recommended VPN service for users who live in the regions with particularly restrictive governments, and would like to unblock censored websites or services.

Besides a great number of security features and ability to unblock VPN on restrictive WiFi, TorGuard is also an ultra fast VPN service with gigabit servers (actually, 10 Gbps). This infrastructure allows the fastest VPN speeds with a reliable streaming and browsing experience.

Unlike most VPN providers, TorGuard VPN can bypass Netflix proxy error with their Netflix streaming IPs. TorGuard can unblock a number of Netflix regions (USA, UK, Canada, Italy, Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Spain, Japan and Singapore), Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Spotify and virtually any streaming or social media service.

TorGuard is not only one of the best VPN services, it also offers OpenPGP encrypted email service with 2 factor authentication and up to 10Mb free storage.

To read a full TorGuard review click HERE.

 

CyberGhost VPN Logo

Get 80% off CyberGhost VPN  

ANNUAL PRICE: 2.45 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.99 USD

Romania based CyberGhost is a no logs VPN provider with over 6,500 ultra high speed VPN servers in 90 countries. CyberGhost VPN has servers in Iran, Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. The wide selection of VPN servers in the Middle East and a virtual Iranian VPN server makes the service an excellent choice for VPN users located in Iran. Since CyberGhost is one of the very few high-speed VPN services with servers in Iran, CyberGhost is a perfect choice to get an Iranian IP address.

If you are on a restrictive WiFi network, typically found at hotels, airports, restaurants and the like, desktop VPN apps can automatically test a wide range of ports and connect to the random VPN port that works. ISPs and various entities in Iran block VPN connection altogether by closing common VPN ports. For this reason, the provider is a great choice for Iran users to unblock VPN, bypass online censorship and unblock restricted content in Iran.

CyberGhost is also one of the most secure VPN services. The provider has a number of advanced security and privacy features that are not offered by competitors. CyberGhost desktop apps have DNS & IP leaks protection, as well as an automatic kill switch that guards your connection if VPN disconnects.

Anti-fingerprinting and tracking protection blocks websites from storing personally identifiable data. A built-in ad-blocker and anti-malware blocks annoying ads along with malicious websites. Automated HTTPS redirect forces unsecured websites to go to HTTPS, ensuring that you browse the most secure version of it.

Data compression is another interesting feature that compresses data to reduce your Internet usage.

CyberGhost, additionally, offers dedicated high-speed streaming servers to unblock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and other multimedia services. You can also choose to connect to dedicated VPN servers optimized for torrenting.

Split tunneling is a feature that excludes specific websites from passing through the VPN tunnel. CyberGhost split tunneling only works to bypass predetermined websites, like Netflix.com, and cannot be used for other apps, like torrenting.

For faster streaming and torrenting, CyberGhost VPN allows switching between TCP/UDP protocols (UDP may be faster comparing to TCP).
To read a full CyberGhost review click HERE.

 

Hide.me VPN Logo

Go to Hide.Me Website  

ANNUAL PRICE: 4.99 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 9.95 USD

Based in Malaysia, Hide.me is one the most secure and fastest VPN providers offering ultra fast gigabit VPN servers that deliver the fastest VPN speeds for users on gigabit Internet connection.

Hide.me is a no logs VPN service with gigabit VPN servers in UAE and Egypt. Hide.Me VPN is extremely reliable and very fast which makes it a perfect choice for security oriented users who would like to enjoy uninterrupted streaming and browsing experience. The provider can unblock censored content in Iran and bypass local government restrictions.

Hide.Me is one of the best VPN services to use in Iran since it has advanced VPN masking tools to bypass strict firewalls and censorship. Hide.Me masks (obfuscates) OpenVPN traffic with TLS-Crypt so, if your WiFi network blocks VPN by analyzing traffic patterns, this methods can bypass the most advanced firewalls in Iran. The technology also encrypts every OpenVPN packet twice, sort of like Double VPN encryption.

Additionally, the provider offers a dynamic TCP/UDP port-forwarding (UPnP) with up to 10 TCP/UDP ports, a useful feature on WiFi networks that block VPN ports.

Hide.Me custom VPN apps have a number of advanced features for maximum protection. Hide.Me VPN has a built-in protection against IP and DNS leaks. Kill switch is an excellent tool to shut down Internet access when the connection to a VPN server is dropped. Stealth Guard takes this even further by blocking access to predetermined apps even when the VPN is OFF.

For instance, once you add Chrome app to your Stealth Guard settings, Hide.Me app will block Internet access for Chrome browser unless the VPN connection has been established.

Hide.Me supports perfect forward secrecy, an advanced security feature that tells OpenVPN to regularly renegotiate encryption keys.

Hide.Me is one of the best VPN services to use in Iran since it has advanced VPN masking tools to bypass strict firewalls and censorship. Hide.Me masks (obfuscates) OpenVPN traffic with TLS-Crypt so, if your WiFi network blocks VPN by analyzing traffic patterns, this methods can bypass the most advanced firewalls. The technology also encrypts every OpenVPN packet twice, sort of like Double VPN encryption.

More so, you can selectively tunnel only specific traffic via secure servers. Split tunneling feature allows this or, alternatively, SOCKS5 proxy can be setup on your browser/torrenting client and re-route only that traffic. Port forwarding feature is a great addition as it can speed up torrenting or streaming when your ISP throttles select traffic.

To read a full Hide.me review click HERE.

 

ZenMate VPN logo

Get 80% OFF ZenMate VPN  

ANNUAL PRICE: 1.75 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 11.99 USD

ZenMate is a no logs privacy oriented VPN provider with a number of built-in security features for advanced protection from tracking and various IP leaks. ZenMate has over 3,700 ultra fast VPN servers in 74 countries that are great for streaming, torrenting and gaming since the infrastructure is optimized to take the best routes, low ping times and virtually eliminates lag.

ZenMate offers high-speed Middle Eastern VPN servers in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Qatar, UAE and Turkey. When connected to an Iranian VPN server, you get an Iran IP address so you can browse geo-restricted websites.

The provider is an excellent choice for Iranian VPN users who would like to stay anonymous online and stop Iranian government from tracking individual browsing history or compiling sensitive personal data.

ZenMate gigabit VPN servers are the best for uninterrupted streaming experience. The provider can also unblock a number of geo-restricted streaming services including Netflix (USA, UK, France and Germany), BBC iPlayer, HBO, Amazon Prime and more.

ZenMate premium software for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android is lightweight, efficient and extremely reliable – it takes about 2 seconds to switch servers. During our lengthy in-depth testing, ZenMate VPN never disconnected, not even once. But if you need that extra security, ZenMate kill switch is your fail-safe security measure.

Additionally, if you would like to use your VPN for browsing only, you can install ZenMate browser extensions on Chrome, Opera and Firefox browsers.

To read a full ZenMate review click HERE.

 

Perfect Privacy VPN Logo

Go to Perfect Privacy Website  

ANNUAL PRICE: 9.99 EUR/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.99 EUR

Perfect Privacy is an ultra fast (gigabit servers) VPN provider with a heavy focus on advanced online security. As the name suggests, Perfect Privacy VPN has some of the most secure VPN features for maximum anonymity in Iran.

For the fastest browsing experience, you can choose between Egypt, Israeli or Turkish VPN servers. But like we mentioned above, the provider’s focus is not the amount of servers they own, it’s security, privacy and complete anonymity.

Perfect Privacy has one of the best and most advanced kill switch implementations. Their integrated firewall enforces all traffic to be sent through secure tunnels thereby protecting their users from all known IP leaks not only when the app is running, but also after OS reboot. Essentially, it prevents unsecured online access when you restart your device until the VPN is up and running.

In addition, Perfect Privacy offers a unique Multi-Hop VPN feature that allows cascading over up to 4 OpenVPN servers at the same time along with SOCKS5 and Squid proxies. So you can create a chain of 6 VPN locations at the same time which basically eliminates any possibility of tracking you down. While this setup surely provides more anonymity, it will dramatically slow you down, which may be an issue for some VPN users in Iran.

Perfect Privacy can bypass strict firewalls in Iran by obfuscating OpenVPN to look like normal HTTPS traffic with Stealth VPN or OpenVPN over SSH fearure. For additional firewall penetration Perfect Privacy allows 5 custom port forwardings or 3 default random ports.

Basically, if you are in Iran and your WiFi network completely blocks VPN, Perfect Privacy can bypass firewall and unblock VPN on virtually any network.

NeuroRouting is an AI based routing that determines the most secure and fastest route through the Internet. It also automatically changes your external VPN IP address depending on the destination. Another fantastic anonymity feature is the provider’s ability to resolve .onion (TOR) addresses without the need for the Tor Browser.

Overall, Perfect Privacy VPN is a perfect tool to avoid mass surveillance, bypass Iranian internet restrictions, access censored websites, and securely stream multimedia content.

To read a full Perfect Privacy review click HERE.

 

PrivateInternetAccess VPN Logo

Get 77% off PIA VPN  

ANNUAL PRICE: 2.85 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 11.95 USD

PIA is a leading no logs VPN service with over 3,000 VPN servers that deliver great speeds and a reliable performance. Private Internet Access has Middle Eastern servers in The United Arab Emirates, Israel and Turkey. If you are in Iran, connecting to one these servers will guarantee faster VPN speeds.

PIA allows port forwarding to 443, 80, 110, 53, 8080, 9201. Port 443 is the most widespread option because it is used to bypass strict firewalls when all the other ports are blocked. For instance, forwarding traffic through port 443 will likely bypass VPN block on most WiFi networks in Iran. Which is why PIA can bypass strict censorship and firewalls in Iran, effectively giving you anonymous browsing experience by hiding your real IP address.

PIA offers an easy to install VPN app for all devices with security and privacy features that protect VPN connection from unexpected data leaks. PIA was once subpoenaed by the FBI and the only information they could provide is that the cluster of IP addresses being used was from the east coast of the United States. The FBI case confirms that PIA indeed does not log any user activity.

Their NAT firewall does a great job protecting from cyber attacks, built-in kill switch secures from unprotected data leaks. In addition, PIA apps have a DNS and IPv4/IPv6 leak protection.

PIA VPN service in one of the best choices for Iran as the provider gives unrestricted and uncensored access to blocked or censored websites. Aside from unblocking various restricted sites (gambling, porn, religious content), or social media websites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, PIA can also unblock Netflix USA and Netflix UK libraries, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime.

For faster streaming and torrenting PIA software offers switching between different connection types and ports. The settings have UDP (faster) and TCP connections types that, depending on network, can speed up traffic. UDP is also greatly preferred for torrenting and streaming.

SOCK5 proxy is another excellent feature that can re-route only certain traffic through VPN tunnel eliminating the need for split tunneling. SOCKS5 is widely used with torrenting software due to its convenience. Once installed on uTorrent, for instance, it works for p2p traffic only.

To read a full PIA review click HERE.

 

AirVPN Logo

Go to AirVPN Website  

ANNUAL PRICE: 4.50 EUR/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 7 EUR

AirVPN is an Italian VPN provider created by privacy activists whose main goal is data protection. AirVPN has over 200 servers in 23 countries that have Perfect Forward Secrecy through Diffie-Hellman key exchange DHE. Essentially key negotiation is performed every 60 minutes to avoid data breach if the key is compromised. AirVPN offers OpenVPN dynamic port forwarding on 80 TCP/UDP, 443 TCP/UDP and 53 TCP/UDP. Additionally, AirVPN offers OpenVPN over SSH and OpenVPN over SSL that mask OpenVPN and make the use of encryption tools invisible to some of the most advanced firewalls. To read a full AirVPN review click HERE.

 

Government Mass Surveillance in Iran

For years Iran has been heavily investing into mass surveillance technology that allowed security agencies to surveil and intercept online communication of its citizens.

The central authority responsible and overseeing mass surveillance in Iran is the Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI), managed by the Ministry of Information Communication Technology. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a military force originally created to be responsible for internal security, currently enforcing surveillance and repression operations supported by the Iranian government. IRGC is a major shareholder of TCI. In 2017, Human Rights Watch documented that IRGC recruited Afghan children who live in Iran to fight as combatants in Syria.

The Ministry of Intelligence, the IRGC, FETA (Iran’s Cyber Police), Ministry of Defense, Ministry ICT, the Passive Defense Organization (PDO), and the Supreme Council for Cyberspace (SCC) are all involved in the country’s surveillance regime.

Iran’s Minister Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Mohammad Javad-Azari Jahromi, with extensive a career in the Intelligence Ministry, has been building a part of the massive surveillance tools to intercept messages and hack citizens’ communication.

Iran mass surveillance

Jahromi is responsible for buying wiretapping tech, geo-location and voice recognition software that was later used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to suppress freedom of speech and track down protesters, activists and human rights workers. Thousands of activists were arrested in 2009 for peacefully disputing the re-election of Ahmadinejad also known as the 2009 Green Movement protest.

Iran mass surveillance

But their efforts don’t end with advanced surveillance tools. Over the past decade, Iran focused their efforts on building an “Intranet” that would afford the government full control over information flow and censorship. The effort centered on taking increasing control over telecom and ISPs (both public and private) in the name of national security.

Telegram Blocked in Iran

Amid widespread demonstrations in Jan 2018, the government shut down Telegram and Instagram as a means to control the protests. In May 2018, in attempt to make Internet “more secure” Iranian authorities permanently blocked Telegram, the most popular messaging and VoIP service in the country.

Iran Blocked Telegram

WhatsApp, however, is still successfully operating in the country. Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram, wrote an article explaining backdoors in WhatsApp, claiming that Facebook is “eager to trade user trust for an increased market share”.

Telegram Blocked in Iran

Iran Blocked Telegram

Because Iranian government cannot gain access to Telegram users’ logs, the government decided to permanently block Telegram and replace it with their own messaging app, citing “national security” as the reason the messaging service will no longer be accessible.

Iran’s own mobile messaging app Soroush most likely includes spying capabilities that aid Iran in their mass surveillance and repression efforts.

When Telegram refused to provide its encryption keys to the Russian intelligence agency (FSB), Russia banned Telegram as well. If Telegram decided to cooperate, the Russian government would be able to decrypt and read all Telegram messages.

So it doesn’t come as a surprise that Iran would not only block an encrypted messaging app that refused to cooperate with them by compromising their user’s privacy, but also released their own supposedly more secure alternative.

Online Censorship & Deep Packet Inspection in Iran

The internet and social media apps are heavily censored in Iran while the government initiatives have increasingly focused on strengthening state control. Most of the blocked domains include news outlets, human rights sites, activism and porn:

Iran blocked websites

Iran blocked websites graph

Internet censorship in Iran is not restricted to illegal forms of content such as porn, gambling, alcohol, drugs or similar. Iranian censorship actually encompasses a wide range content that works against the government ideology: political opposition news, human rights, social media, messaging and VoIP tools, censorship circumvention tech and even search engines.

Additionally, Internet censorship in Iran is increasingly sophisticated and multi-layered working in conjunction with one another. Iranians have designed the system that can shut down most of the methods to circumvent the filtering. For example, Iranian ISPs blocked websites using different methods: DNS injection vs HTTP proxies. More so, popular circumvention tools like VPN, Tor and Psiphon have all been blocked via website blocking, port blocking and deep packet inspection.

Another quite effective censorship method is speed throttling to deter Iranians from using international video streaming and VoIP services which host “undesirable content”.

After banning Telegram, the government made further efforts to completely control the information by forcing government agencies to use domestic, state-approved search engines that block access to international search engines and heavily filter online content in Iran.

A year later Iran introduced legislation (Article 751 of the Islamic Penal Code) that requires local hosting providers to refrain from servicing banned websites, including censored news, information about political or human rights issues.

In 2019 after yet another wave of demonstrations, in order to silence protesters and stop the unrest, Iran began slowing down Internet speeds across the country that ended with wide-scale Internet shut down.

Bypass Firewall and Unblock VPN in Iran. Anonymously Unblock Porn, Gambling, Online Dating, Social Media, Messaging and VoIP Apps

Most proxy services, VPN services, Tor network along with their websites are blocked in Iran. The government uses several methods to accomplish this task:

  • blocks websites and ability to download the apps
  • blocks VPN/proxy ports
  • blocks encryption protocols that have specific signatures
  • blocks any traffic that it cannot recognize and categorize, which is why simply “scrambling” OpenVPN doesn’t work in Iran

The best VPN services offer tools that can bypass all of the above. If you are on WiFi that simply blocks VPN ports, choosing a VPN service that offers port forwarding is an easy way to bypass VPN block.

If you are on WiFi that uses deep packet inspection to sniff out packet data, you need advanced tools that hide OpenVPN from ISP and make it look like regular encrypted SSL/TLS traffic (browsing).

Only certain VPN services listed below offer VPN obfuscation (VPN masking) tools that disguise VPN connection to look like regular HTTPS traffic. Obfuscation tools are generally undetectable so your ISP will not even know you are using VPN.

The following are the best VPN services to bypass deep packet inspection in Iran and unblock VPN even on the most restrictive networks.

Chameleon is offered by VyprVPN.

Obfsproxy is offered by NordVPN

OpenVPN over SSL is offered by ExpressVPN and AirVPN.

StealthVPN is offered by TorGuard.

SoftEther is offered by Hide.me.

OpenVPN Scrambling is offered by StrongVPN and IPVanish.

For more info please refer our Best VPN for Middle East article that provides more details on the subject.
 

Liability and Legal Environment in Iran

Iranian authorities regularly prosecute and imprison various individuals and entities that threaten the regime. These include journalists, political activists, government officials, politicians, media, bloggers, religious minorities, on charges of “acting against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” and “assembly and collusion to disrupt national security”.

In 2018 Tehran’s justice department banned media from publishing the name or images of Mohammad Khatami, the country’s reformist former president.

Six administrators that managed Iranian reformist political channels on Telegram were sentenced to 2 to 5 years in prison.

Atena Daemi, an anti-death penalty and a women’s rights activist, is serving a 7 year prison sentence for peaceful activism. She was imprisoned for criticizing the death penalty on social media and handing out anti-death penalty leaflets.

Iran blocked websites

Abdolfatah Soltani, a prominent human rights lawyer who received the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award, was in and out of prisons until in 2012 he was sentenced to serve a 13-year prison sentence for “propaganda against the system”, “participation in founding the Human Rights Defenders Centre”, assembly and collusion against national security” as well as “earning illegitimate assets” by receiving the Nuremberg City’s Human Rights prize in 2009.

Zia Nabavi, a student political activist, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and to 74 lashes for “creating unease in the public mind”.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern about reports that Iran forces LGBT children to undergo “therapy” including electric shocks, hormones, and psychiatric medications, in order to change their sexual orientation. In March 2017, before the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Iran denied these allegations that coercive treatment and electric shocks were being used.

Iran’s opposition leaders and former presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi have been under house arrest since February 2011.

While covering religious protests, Mostafa Abdi, an editor of the news site Majzooban Noor, was sentenced to 26 years in prison, 148 lashes, two years of exile in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, a two-year ban on social activities and a two-year prohibition on traveling abroad. Several other Iranians received similar punishments for attending the demonstrations.







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