There are only a few countries in the world where selling or using VPNs is a criminal offence and they are all the usual names you would expect, Russia, China, and of course Iran.
These are countries where VPNs have played a crucial role in democracy protests that have rocked the country for months and show no sign of abating.
So, it is perhaps no surprise that at least one hardline supporter of the Iranian autocratic theocracy thinks the regime hasn’t gone far enough.
He has called for anyone who sells VPNs in Iran to be executed.
Death to VPNs
The crazy individual in question is Rohollah Momen-Naseb who you will never have heard of.
He is a special advisor to the regime on so-called ‘Legislation to Protect Cyberspace Users’ and also a former commander of the cyber army, who patrol the internet in Iran to try and stop people using it against the regime.
In an interview with the Iranian state news outlet Ensaf News, Momen-Naseb said that anyone who sells VPNs so that others “can watch porn” should be executed for “corruption of the earth.”
According to his insane theory, hanging VPN sellers would mean that “the others would learn a lesson.”
In other words, he thinks that by killing a few people, he can scare others into not selling VPNs.
This stance will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the horrendous activities of Iran’s brutal Islamic regime.
The current nationwide protests come as a result of a young woman being beaten to death by the country’s Orwellian-named morality police for the crime of going outside without a hijab covering her head.
It is similarly a regime that routinely executes people for crimes as ridiculous as being gay and opposing the government. It should come as no surprise that selling VPNs might become the next crime to end up on the capital punishment list.
Why people really use VPNs in Iran
It goes without saying that Momen-Naseb is wrong in every possible way. But it is also wrong to say that people in Iran are using VPNs to watch porn online.
Some may of course, and in most countries, this would be a matter entirely for them to decide as individuals.
But in Iran, VPNs are primarily used to bypass the regimes online censorship, of which Momen-Naseb is a leading figure in and to coordinate opposition protests to try and oust the malign dictatorship in power there.
This is what VPNs are used for and, let’s be honest, this is the real reason why Momen-Naseb wants such harsh punishments for selling them.
The simple fact is that it is not safe to use the internet in Iran without a VPN. Momen-Naseb himself has admitted that the regime has created fake Twitter accounts to try an entrap opposition activists.
Momen-Naseb’s plans are not law in Iran yet.
However, the way the regime is desperately trying to cling to power against widespread popular opposition, you can’t rule anything out and, as always, we urge all Iranian VPN users, and sellers, to be careful and vigilant at all times.