The country has created its own YouTube which would only allow video on approval of the government’s regime.
Mehr, which means “affection” in Farsi, is created for Persian-speaking Internet users. Its aim is to promote and cultivate the local culture. At the moment, the URL YouTube.IR is redirecting to Fars TV, while Mehr, located at http://ir.mehr.ir, appears to be down. Anyway, the service is expected to share content specific to the country, including music videos. Iranian users will also be able to submit their own material.
Iran has blocked YouTube streaming service since 2009, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election win was contested. At the time, a wave of protest led to the state cracking down on dissent. Politicians and political commentators in the West point out that Iran is going to censor material which would undermine the influence or rule of the regime. According to the local reports, blogs, porn, a number of Western media outlets, and even such social networks as Facebook and Twitter are banned in the country.
Criticism expressed by the US has been liberally meted out, and a number of politicians accuse Iran of trying to shield its people from the Internet. It is believed that the local censorship is the reasoning behind the American “Internet in a suitcase”, which would provide a network free from the government’s interference.
Despite the fact that it’s against the law to sell VPNs in Iran, a huge part of the country’s Internet users uses them to wriggle around filtering. Mehr.IR is seen as part of the Iranian plans to create its own working Intranet instead of allowing people to connect to the worldwide web – just as North Korea did.