Lawmakers in Iran have launched a motion to ban foreign messaging applications, and replace them with locally-made ones, national media Radio Farda has reported.
Those who will offer social media messaging applications without an official license, as well as Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers face fines and jail time according to the new proposal called “Organizing Social Media Messaging.”
The punishment includes a minimum of six months and up to two years of jail time, and a $475 to $1900 fine.
The proposal outlines the creation of a committee, which includes representatives from several Iranian government agencies including the Revolutionary Guard, who will issue licenses, regulate the applications, and hear relevant complaints.
A “domestic messaging application” should have more than 50 percent of its shares belonging to an Iranian citizen, and it should only be hosted in the country, the proposal indicated.
Iran already blocks popular applications like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Instagram is the only major foreign social media platform allowed in the country.