The move has been triggered by the anti-Islamic film trailer posted on YouTube which has led to riots across the Middle East. Several countries have already blocked the video, with some blocking YouTube altogether.
In an anouncement on a state television channel, deputy government minister Abdolsamad Khoramabadi confirmed: “Google and Gmail will be filtered throughout the country until further notice,” adding that this was ‘due to the repeated demands of the people’.
That’s not necessarily the case, says Golnaz Esfandiari, who has a blog on the Radio Free Europe website Persian Letters.
“By blocking Gmail/Google, #Iran government punishes its own people over anti-Islam movie. Most Iranians have not seen it/don’t care,” she tweets.
“Bad economic situation main issue for many Iranians, not anti-Islam movie as government claims.”
The government has previously said it plans to introduce its own National Information Network, to which users would be switched next March. It claims that this is for security reasons.
According to reports, the block is less than fully effective, with many users in the country still able to access Google services. However, the block is being gradually extended.