Extra: The Nazi Website amid Iran's 'Chaste and Virtuous Internet'
11 Dec 2010 21:08
Editor's note: Last month, the online news outlet Tabnak reported that Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance had issued an operating permit for a website called Anjoman-e Nazism-e Iran va Havadaran Adolf Hitler -- Iranian Nazis and Hitler Fans Forum, per the site's own English rendering -- at www.irannazi.ir. The development was particularly notable given that many pro-reform organizations and individuals have been denied the right to operate websites, either by official decree or often extralegal government "filtering." Online reporters and bloggers constitute a significant proportion of the 34 journalists currently incarcerated by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance deputy minister in charge of the press is Mohammad Ali Ramin. Ramin lived in Germany for over two decades until he was deported in 1994, apparently for his association with neo-Nazi groups. When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was first elected president, Ramin became his adviser and is known for contributing to Ahmadinejad's denialist position on the Holocaust. Ramin organized the 2006 Holocaust Conference in Tehran, a denialist festival at which he invited German neo-Nazi associates of his to participate.
On November 20, Tabnak -- which is affiliated with former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Mohsen Rezaei, a conservative political adversary of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's -- published the following "explanations" by the ministry concerning irannazi.ir and Tabnak's own reaction to the official response. The story, like its predecessor, appeared in Tabnak-e Ejtimoee (social), the section of Tabnak devoted to domestic affairs. By November 26, irannazi.ir's masthead had been altered to read The World War II and Third Reich Forum, though it continued to refer itself as "IranNazi Website" elsewhere on its various pages. It appears that the site is now offline.
This translation of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance's "explanations," the fullest to have appeared in English, was executed by Tehran Bureau staff. -- Dan Geist
Explanations of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance Regarding the Website That Promotes Fascism and Nazism
Following the publication of a news article in Tabnak-e Ejtimoee regarding official activity of supporters of Hitler and Nazism on the Iranian .ir web domain, the public relations section of the IT and Digital Media Development Center of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has sent us some explanations.
According to a correspondent for Tabnak-e Ejtimoee, the full text of these explanations, from both the public relations office and Tabnak-e Ejtimoee, are outlined below.
Following the publication of a news report entitled "The Increase of Nazism and Prejudiced Activities on the ir. Web Domain," the following explanations were disclosed to the public:
First, the source of the registration of the .ir web domains is not the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Instead, a nongovernmental organization (a specific research organization), not under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, registers the .ir domains.
Secondly, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, to this point in time, has not issued permission for the above mentioned website, nor do the Digital Media Workshops have any essential institutionalized existence within the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Therefore, their aforementioned claims are a mixture of lies and deceit, and are being pursued through legal channels.
Thirdly, with regards to the claims brought forth in these websites, it is necessary to clarify that the process of registering websites with the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is based on the statements of website managers. However, on the other hand, due to the virtual nature of the online environment, it is possible that certain websites, which are defined as research websites, are in fact something completely different; consequently, the information they publish and showcase is contrary to how they initially define themselves. The ability to differentiate between these types of websites and what is published on the Internet requires the wisdom and insight of users and the respected readers. In addition, it is a testament to the responsible website managers who follow through on the accounts of the respected readers to discredit immoral and illegal plots like these.
Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to the respected members of the media who followed up on this matter, and would like to announce that the general public and honorable users of the Internet can report on issues that supersede the legal and moral boundaries of the Internet through Peyvandha.ir so that they can be legally pursued without delay. We are committed to a chaste and virtuous Internet.
Tabnak-e Ejtimoee's Explanations
First, it is admirable that this section of the Ministry of Guidance and Islamic Culture has responded so promptly to the matter, and God willing, their pursuance of these efforts will yield the intended results. The only point that Tabnak-e Ejtimoee will clarify is the registration of this website with the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. It is clear to both the general pubic and the experts that the overall discussion is about the registration of website addresses within the larger .ir web domain. The registration of website addresses with the .ir suffix is carried out at the Center for Theoretical Physics, and the registration of no website has any specific relationship with the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. However, the issue previously reflected in Tabnak-e Ejtimoee was the registration of this aforementioned website within the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance database. The manager of the website that promotes fascism and Nazism has registered their website with this database, and this can be verified by referring to this database and locating this website.
Finally, we are hopeful that as a result of the diligence of those responsible for confronting exponents of extremist and perverse cultures and beliefs, we come closer to achieving a more chaste and virtuous Internet.
In an interview with an official from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, who had been in contact with a correspondent from Tabnak-e Ejtimoee regarding this same issue, all claims of issuance of any permission and recognition of this group were rejected.
Mehdi Saramy (from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance) has told Tabnak-e Ejtimoee's correspondent that this website was registered in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance database. However, the registration was under an officially recognized name, and there was no mention of any specific research institute, and therefore, the existence and recognition of this group is denied and rejected by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.