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I have read about how VPNs are a big industry in Iran with the Iran Communication State mentioning it as a lucrative industry. However, the state is also big on internet censorship and it seems strange that such a government would be ok with proxy servers and VPNs. So how are these services still available in a country so intent on controlling internet access among its people?

  • For clarification, are you asking how VPNs can be successful despite their illegal status, or are you asking why state officials are praising an illegal industry? – GGMG-he-him Jan 22 at 16:48
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    Does the state actually praise VPNs? The politician quoted by the article calls them a "mafia". And the government not banning them might be a case of hanlon's razor. – Philipp Jan 22 at 16:51
  • I guess I am asking both: how are VPNs successful despite their illegal status and why is a member of the Telecommunication Company of Iran talked about how it was profitable for them and manufacturing (though I am having trouble reaching the link where I read that statement from currently. I will bring that up and post it if I am able to reach it or a similar news source). – Tyler Mc Jan 22 at 17:05
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    I'm going to guess. I'm going to guess that members of the government want to use them as well. – puppetsock Jan 22 at 22:18
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The VPN in Iran is just a ridiculous business. You should know that there is a significant difference between Islamic Republic dictatorship and any other totalitarian regime that history remembers like Soviet Union, China, North Korea, etc., and that is Islamic Republic is truly an unique example of Machiavellistic government. I mean you can barely call it a government. I'm Iranian and it's quite common that people consider this Islamic Republic regime as just a group of thieves. That's it. So get back to the VPN business... OK, I describe it so simple. Islamic Republic leaders are just a bunch of thieves. So, they filter the internet but at the same time they sell VPN to people. It's like you need to pay twice. First you need to pay for your internet subscription and then you need to pay for your VPN subscription if you want to truly access the internet besides some junk websites created by the government. It's a nice business right? So, just money...

You don't see it in North Korea, Cuba, China, or any other totalitarian regimes cause at least those people have some ideology that truly believe in even if that ideology is just simply stupid. But, Islamic Republic leaders just believe in money and nothing else.

  • Capitalistic genius. But could probably use some citations to show the Irainan state own the VAN businesses. – Jontia Jan 25 at 23:25
  • If the state and the business interests are controlled by the same parties, you really can't call it capitalism. – Burt_Harris Jan 26 at 1:48
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    As an Iranian i approve of this answer, but perhaps it could have been worded in a more polite and professional way. I could also add that government or government affiliated groups in Iran not only earn money by selling VPN, but also allows them to directly monitor internet traffic of people that 'want' to bypass internet censorship. for example read about mobogram, or gold telegram controversies. which has been accused of begin government sanctioned bypass of internet censorship apps that give user data to government. – Soorena Aban Jan 28 at 11:54
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in order to know why it is a big business , you need to know how it works and why.

filtering and blocking is based on two ideas.

when you access a service on the internet (like visiting a website or using a service like Skype for example) a connection is established between your device and the server providing the website or the service

those servers have known IP addresses ( Think of it as phone number ) so you can block a website or service by blocking access to their IP address

second method is by filtering , you actually look inside the data being transmuted and if you see keywords that you do not like them being shown, you prevent the content from being delivered

A VPN is more than a proxy that just redirect your traffic , it actually encrypt it (you can not look inside it to filter it), users volatile IP addresses (changes regularly so you cant block those IP address)

thus it is hard to track and block VPNs and it is very popular in all countries that has massive internet censorship like China, Saudi Arabia and north Korea to mention a few

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