Alireza Aghasi wasn’t too worried when Iran first banned the Telegram messaging app that’s the backbone of his digital advertising agency. As tensions with the U.S. heat up, however, the widening assault on freedoms could begin to cost him business.
Twitter has been prohibited for years in Iran, but people used special technology to bypass curbs and turned to Telegram, which became the favored online forum. Then, on April 30, Telegram was banned too. Authorities began to shut down proxies and other workarounds. The office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei closed its account and the judiciary declared Telegram a security threat; a foe in the cloud to add to that across the Atlantic.