Iran Walks Back Internet Censorship, Restores GmailS

After seriously flipping out, cutting of Iranian access to Google and basically herding all its citizens into a tiny little government-approved intra-net pen, the Iranian government has softened its Internet ban just a little bit and restored access to Gmail.

Though the outcry against censoring the Internet at large was loud, the backlash against cutting users off from Google services such as Gmail was particularly strong. Many Iranians (reportedly around half) resorted to using VPNs to get outside of the the intra-net bubble, creating millions of dollars in profit for local VPN firms. Even government officials railed against the lack of Gmail, and complained that local clients just weren't up to snuff.

Apparently all the whining worked, because Gmail is back, now that the Iranian government have figured out how to block YouTube without breaking Gmail in the process. Not everyone is particularly happy about the service's return however; Iran's deputy telecoms minister was far from apologetic, putting it this way:

If there is Mercedes Benz on the street, that doesn't mean everyone drives a Mercedes.

In this case though, it's probably fair to say that Gmail is less a Mercedes Benz than it is just "a car with wheels and a motor that works." [Asr-e Ertebat, Associated Press, via Ars Technica]