07:20 GMT28 February 2021
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    TEHRAN (Sputnik) - Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has stopped using Telegram messenger and domestic alternatives to the foreign-based app will be used instead.

    "In order to protect national interests and to eliminate Telegram’s monopoly, the news portal of [Khamenei’s] office, responsible for the storage of Grand Ayatollah Hamenei’s publications in Telegram, ceases its activities from now on," Khamenei's office said, noting that this move was also aimed at supporting national messaging apps.

    The Iranian authorities have taken several steps to limit Telegram’s activity in the country over company’s refusal to transfer its servers to Iran. On December 31, 2017, Tehran blocked the messenger amid nationwide protests in the country. The ban was lifted two weeks later, however, the Telegram's voice call service has remained blocked.

    READ MORE: Iran to Replace Telegram With Homemade App for Sake of ‘National Security’

    On Sunday, the Iranian Education Ministry issued a directive banning the use of foreign-made messaging apps, including Telegram, at the county’s public schools.

    The decision by the Iranian leadership comes just days after the Russian court decided to ban Telegram across the country after the Federal Security Service (FSB) had asked the tech company to provide the agency with the keys in an effort to deter terror attacks in Russia, since the messenger is believed to be widely used by terrorists. The court pointed out that Telegram would remain blocked in Russia until it provided encryption keys to the Russian authorities.

    In 2017, Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov said that 40 million Iranian citizens used the app monthly, which makes it one of the most popular social networks in the country.


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