Although the Iranian officials said that the steps were taken to improve cyber security of the country but many Iranians fear is the latest way to control their access to the web.
The curbs were announced in a mobile phone text message quoting Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, an adviser to Iran’s public prosecutor’s office and the secretary of an official group tasked with detecting internet content deemed illegal.
“Due to the repeated demands of the people, Google and Gmail will be filtered nationwide. They will remain filtered until further notice,” the message read.
Google’s own website tracking country-by-country access to its services did not immediately reflect the blocks.
Gmail is used by many Iranian businessmen to communicate and exchange documents with foreign companies. Iran’s economy is suffering under Western sanctions that have cut oil exports and made trade more difficult.
Iranian authorities previously and temporarily cut access to Google and Gmail in February, ahead of March parliamentary elections.
Google’s popular YouTube video-sharing site has been continually censored since mid-2009, following protests and opposition claims of vote fraud in the wake of elections that returned president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.
Other social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are also routinely blocked.
Iran is working on rolling out its national intranet that it says will be clean of un-Islamic content. Officials claim it will be faster and more secure, even though users’ data will be more easily subject to monitoring.