Reports have been coming through on Twitter today that Internet filtering in Iran was lifted. Iranian residents were reportedly able to access sites that are usually inaccessible in Iran, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. While these sites were accessible, it was also reported on Twitter that HTTPS was not available for many sites.

Speculations behind the reason for the lift began with the fact that Iran is implementing a new filtering system and they were simply caught mid-upgrade, to an attempt to trap anti-government activists, to sabotage.

The sites were reportedly accessible for at least one hour, after which, when testing the site using BlockedInIran, it would appear that the filter is firmly back in place.

twitterblocked YouTube, Facebook and Twitter reportedly temporarily accessible in Iran due to disruption

According to a couple of reports on Twitter, the official Iranian story is that the filtering system was temporarily unavailable due to technical difficulties:

“Iran websites says there has been a ‘disruption’ in state filtering of the Internet.”

It remains unclear if the disruption was an attempted attack on the Iranian filtering system or simply a glitch.

Iran is notorious for its attempts to block access to social networking and communication sites, and have even go so far as to plan to launch its own “Internet.” Most recently, Iran is said to have blocked access to VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) which allow users to surf the Internet anonymously, and more importantly safely.

Reza Taghipour, Iran’s Minister of Communication and Technology, is reported to have said: “Blocking VPNs has nothing to do with the launch of a national network, and basically the use of VPNs is illegal.”