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Facebook blocked in Iran

Supporters of leading opposition candidate Mousavi were using the website for his campaign ahead of presidential elections next month

Popular social networking site Facebook has been blocked in Iran to prevent supporters of the country’s leading opposition candidate from using the site for his campaign, the Iranian Labour News Agency reported yesterday.

"Access to the Facebook site was prohibited several days ahead of the presidential election," the ILNA report stated. "According to certain Internet surfers, the site was banned because supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi were using Facebook to better disseminate the candidate's positions." May 23rd was the official start of campaigning in the country ahead of the June 12th presidential elections.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister and reform candidate, is seen as a serious challenge to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is seeking a second four-year term in the country’s elections next month.

One Facebook page dedicated to Mousavi already has more than 5,700 supporters and can be found here. It contains biographical information, statements on his proposed policies, as well as photographs and videos of both him and his fans.

Iranian authorities are known to control media by blocking access to websites that are critical of President Ahmadinejad, coming under fire from international human rights group Reporters Without Borders.