Picture 96 300x199 Communications blackout in Iran. Gmail blocked, texting crippled.WSJ is reporting that Iran is to permanently shut down Gmail in wake of upcoming planned protests.

The report clearly states:

“Iran’s telecommunications agency announced what it described as a permanent suspension of Google Inc.’s email services, saying instead that a national email service for Iranian citizens would soon be rolled out. It wasn’t clear late Wednesday what effect the order had on Google’s email services in Iran.”

It is the most drastic step taken by the government yet and is likely to stir up further protests.

Just last week Iran apologised for an “Internet slow down” that essentially brought much of the country’s Internet access to a halt. The country’s Communications Minister Reza Taghipour said the government is officially blaming an internet crawl on normal wear and tear, the “fibre-optic network is damaged.” The “breakage will be repaired by next week and the Internet speed will be back to normal.” Tahipour said.

Update: We’re also hearing all instant messaging services have been blocked and have been for at least three days.
Update 2: Mobile phone services seem to be coming to a halt as texting is feared to be used to post to Twitter. Tomorrow marks the anniversary celebration of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. We don’t expect the situation to improve before the protests are over.

More to come.

Via Silicon Insider