Iranian authorities blocked a website Wednesday hours after it was launched by the U.S. State Department to be a “virtual embassy” reaching out to people in the Islamic Republic.
“In accordance with the cybercrime law, access to this website is not possible,” read a notice to anyone inside Iran trying to visit iran.usembassy.gov.
The semi-official Fars news agency commented on the blocking of the U.S. website, saying, “A decisive reaction by Iranian authorities has neutralized another sly plot by the Americans.”
The “Virtual Embassy Tehran” website — which makes clear it does not offer consular services — is an attempt by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to give Iranians a sympathetic view of the United States, which is referred to as “the Great Satan” by Tehran’s ruling elite.
The White House condemned the effort by Tehran to control “what the Iranian people see and hear,” and said it remained committed to engaging in dialogue with the Iranian people.
“Through this action, the Iranian government has once again demonstrated its commitment to build an electronic curtain of surveillance and censorship around its people,” it said.