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Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

Iran’s telecommunications agency announced Wednesday that it has permanently suspended Google’s e-mail services and that a national e-mail service for Iranians will be rolled out soon.

It is not clear what effect the order has had on gmail in Iran. Google says in a statement, “We have heard from users in Iran that they are having trouble accessing Gmail. We can confirm a sharp drop in traffic, and we have looked at our own networks and found that they are working properly. Whenever we encounter blocks in our services we try to resolve them as quickly as possibly because we strongly believe that people everywhere should have the ability to communicate freely online. Sadly, sometimes it is not within our control.”

Google on Tuesday unveiled a new service called “Buzz,” a social networking tool built into its gmail service.

The announced suspension of gmail comes as Iranian authorities have deployed in force across Tehran to conduct last-minute security sweeps and warn residents to refrain from joining antigovernment protests planned for Thursday — the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

Police have confiscated satellite dishes from residential rooftops, according to opposition Web sites. Some pedestrians have been quoted saying that their mobile phones were searched and, in some cases, taken by police patrolling areas of the capital where protests have erupted in the past. Iranians have also reported widespread service disruptions of text messaging services, though mobile phones appeared to be operating normally Wednesday.

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President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed Thursday that Iran has produced its first batch of uranium enriched to a higher level, saying his country will not be bullied by the West into curtailing its nuclear program a day after the U.S. imposed new sanctions.

Ahmadinejad made the announcement in a speech to hundreds of thousands of cheering Iranians at a rally to mark the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Just two days earlier, Iran said it had begun enriching uranium to higher levels than before, raising fears it may be moving closer to the ability to produce material for a nuclear weapon.

But the president insisted Iran had no intention of building nuclear weapons and said if it intended to, it would say so openly.

Iran said Tuesday it had begun enriching uranium to 20 percent purity to power a research reactor for production of medical isotopes, up from 3.5 percent previously. But the international community has demanded a halt to all enrichment activity because the same process is used to produce weapons-grade material if it is enriched to a level of 90 percent.

Experts say that from 20 percent enrichment, Iran could make a quick leap to weapons-grade uranium.

”I want to announce with a loud voice here that the first package of 20 percent fuel was produced and provided to the scientists,” Ahmadinejad said. He reiterated that Iran was a ”nuclear state,” something he has said before….

”God willing, daily production (of low enriched uranium) will be tripled,” he said.

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