Iran has not yet attempted to block the Strait of Hormuz but they have managed to cut off Google and Gmail access throughout the country. The decision to remove Google products came after YouTube refused to remove a video of the prophet Muhammed titled Innocence of Muslims.
On state run television an official identified only as Khoramabadi stated:
“Google and Gmail will be filtered throughout the country until further notice.”
The Iranian Students’ News Agency then claimed the ban was directly related to the YouTube video.
Many analysts inside and outside of Iran believe the countries leaders are simply using the YouTube issue to bolster their own national network that is separate from the rest of the world wide web. According to technology minister Ali Hakin-Javadi:
“All governmental agencies and offices … have been connected to the national information network.”
This is not the first time Iran has blocked a website, in February it stopped access to sites using the secure HTTPS protocol. The move to end the use of higher security websites was meant to allow Iran to stifle protest uprisings throughout the country.
To combat Iranian attempts to censor the internet the US Office of Foreign Asset Control has been providing internet users with tools that can be used to avert the blocks.
According to the Telegraph the Iranian government plans to connect the Iranian public to its own version of the world wide web by March 2013, thereby isolating its citizens from the rest of the electronically connected world.