Britain condemns Iran for blocking UK website

Britain condemns Iran for blocking UK website

Britain's foreign secretary condemned Iran today for blocking a website aimed at explaining the United Kingdom and its policies to Iranians.

William Hague said that barring the British government's "UK for Iranians" site three days after it was launched proved "the Iranian authorities fear their own citizens' interaction and involvement with the outside world."

"UK for Iranians" was launched Wednesday, after Iran blocked the website of Britain's now shuttered embassy in Tehran in December.

Britain said Iran blocked the site yesterday. It was unavailable to users in Iran today.

Diplomatic relations between Britain and Iran have deteriorated as tensions mount over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

Britain pulled its diplomats out of Iran and expelled Iranian diplomats from the UK after violent demonstrators attacked its embassy in Tehran in November.

The BBC's Persian service is regularly blocked in Iran, and the broadcaster has accused Iran of harassing staff of the service through slander, snooping and the arrest of their relatives. Last year Britain's broadcast regulator revoked the license of state-owned Iranian channel Press TV. It insisted the move was not politically motivated.

Hague said Britain had "no quarrel with the Iranian people."

"We will continue to look for opportunities to engage with the Iranian people, confident that Iranians are outward looking and deserve the same freedoms that others enjoy around the world," he said.

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