The Intelligence Ministry named some 60 U.S. and international organizations, including the Open Society Institute of U.S. philanthropist George Soros, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, and Yale University.Ten years ago, that would have had a tremendously negative impact. But with the reach of social media today, it might not have the same effect now as then:
A number of Farsi-language media, including RFE/RL’s Radio Farda, the BBC, VOA, and Radio Zamaneh, which is based in the Netherlands, were also singled out by the Intelligence Ministry.
A deputy intelligence minister for international affairs, whose name was not given, accused the groups of working against the Iranian regime and said that contacts and cooperation with them were banned.
The adroit use of social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and others, coupled with text messages and increasingly widespread mobile-phone technology, can help lend support to existing grassroots movements for freedom and civil rights, connect people to information, and help those in closed societies communicate with the outside world. It also promises to give a strong economic boost to small entrepreneurs and the rural poor. The World Bank estimates that for every 10 percent increase in the number of mobile-phone users in a developing country, there is nearly a 1 percent increase in its economic output.Unless the regime is willing to completely clamp down on both the internet and the country's cell phone network, they won't be able to stop the demonstrators. And the economic costs of shutting down those communications channels are increasing.