Seventh century or bust.
A new Iranian 3G mobile Internet operator that has brought video-calling to Iran is flouting a fatwa issued by four grand ayatollahs.
Rightel, Iran’s third mobile-phone operator, provides Iranians with their first ever 3G Internet services, allowing customers to use both video-call and multi-media messaging functions. The firm, which sponsored Iran’s recent International Fajr Film Festival, has a slick new website and accepts customers who register with their national card details. Rightel offers pay-and-go, contact and data-card packages. [...]
Four grand ayatollahs — Nasser Makarem-Shirazi, Hossein Nouri Hamedani , Jafar Sohbhani and Seyyed Sajjad Alavi Gorgani — have issued fatwas banning Rightel.
“The decadence and corruption associated with [Rightel’s] use outweighs its benefits,” decreed Grand Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi. “It will cause new deviances in our society, which is unfortunately already plagued with deviances.” Ayatollah Alavi Gorghani said that the video-call service would “jeopardize the public chastity” and “inflicts numerous damages” on Iran’s religion and political system.
An anti-Rightel website called “Rightel mirage” has been set up by Iran’s hard-liners. “Providing everyone with opium and then advising them to use it wisely,” reads an op-ed on the site, cautioning against the risks video calls pose to family life.