The Iranian government's plan to install a Great Firewall like China's certainly didn't take long to backfire. According to reports, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's fatwa against antifiltering tools was almost immediately auto-blocked by the government's own censoring system—because it included the word "antifiltering."
Last October, Iranian Telecommunications Minister Reza Taghipour declared VPNs and antifiltering software illegal. However, some professions—including journalists—pointed out that they needed to access banned websites for information not found on government-accredited sites. In response to questions as to the religious ruling on this issue, Khameni wrote, "In general, the use of antifiltering software is subject to the laws and regulations of the Islamic republic, and it is not permissible to violate the law."
The funny thing is, it was Ali Khamenei himself—being the undisputed final word in all things Iran—that ok'd the censoring system's implementation. According to a report by the conservative website Tabnak, the fatwa lasted just 30 hours before being scrubbed from the net. "The filtering of a [religious] order is so ugly for the executive [branch] that it can bring into question the whole philosophy of filtering," wrote the website, which has close ties to the current secretary-general of the Expediency Council, Mohsen Rezai.
If this draconian system weren't so effectively designed as a bludgeon against an informed citizenry, the fact that it so evenhandedly denies authorities the same freedoms as the people would be hilariously ironic. [Radio Free Europe via Business Insider - Image: the AP]