"A Grand Ayatollah in Iran has determined that access to high-speed and 3G Internet is 'against Sharia' and 'against moral standards.' In answer to a question published on his website, Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, one of the country's highest clerical authorities, issued a fatwa, stating 'All third generation [3G] and high-speed internet services, prior to realization of the required conditions for the National Information Network [Iran's government-controlled and censored Internet which is under development], is against Sharia [and] against moral and human standards.'
He added that 'Judicial officials must not remain indifferent about this vital issue.'
Internet access has been an ongoing struggle between Iran's hardliners, who retain key bases of power in the judicial, intelligence and security branches of government and wish to maintain strict censorship and control over all information, and the 42 million Iranians-some 55% of the population-who use the Internet. Internet speed is a critical weapon in this battle, as the authorities frequently slow the speed of the Internet as a means to render it effectively useless, thereby depriving the citizenry of the online access it needs for professional, educational, and commercial use."