Iran

Iran's New President May Ease Civil Liberties Restrictions

Hopefully

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Two weeks after his sensational victory Iran's president-elect, Hassan Rouhani, has expressed relatively progressive views about civil liberties, freedom of expression and the internet.

Social networking sites such as Facebook were, he said, a welcome phenomenon.

In his most outspoken interview in the Iranian media, Rouhani told Chelcheragh – a popular youth magazine – that he is opposed to segregation of sexes in society, would work to minimise censorship and believes internet filtering is futile.

"In the age of digital revolution, one cannot live or govern in a quarantine," he said as he made clear he is opposed to the authorities' harsh crackdown on Iranians owning satellite dishes, which millions have installed on rooftops for access to foreign-based TV channels illegal in the country.