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Iran Has Severed External HTTPS Access

Reports have surfaced that Iran has blocked external websites that use the HTTPS protocol. A source located within the country claim that citizens cannot access Facebook, Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo's email among other secured online banking services. The only way to gain access to these Internet services is to use proxy servers over VPN connections. Secured sites based within Iran are reportedly still accessible.

The decision to switch off access to external HTTPS websites is believed to be connected to the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. The revolution culminated with the fall of the Shah on February 11, 1979, but Iran didn't become an Islamic Republic until April 1, 1979. That said, the ban could be lifted sometime this weekend, or it could go on until April. Experts believe the ban isn't permanent, but it's still a possibility.

"The interesting thing is that when asked, they deny the fact that all these services are all blocked," an Iranian contacted by Cnet said. The contact, who wished to remain unnamed, said that anti-government protests are planned for Saturday.

The HTTPS block may also have something to do with the nation-wide state-sponsored Intranet Iran is getting ready to launch. Iran's information minister recently told the Islamic Republic News Agency that a national internet would be up and running soon, but didn't provide a definitive date, indicating that Iran could throw the switch any day now. The government will even require internet cafes to videotape all patrons so that authorities can easily identify the Web surfers.

This local closed internet has cyber activists in Iran somewhat concerned. "I don't know the the infrastructure that they will use but I don't think we have a way out of that one," said the Iranian source. "We are getting closer and closer to North Korea."