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December 12, 2003We'll tell you why. Ahmad Motamedi, Iran's Minister of ICT, has been in the summit media centre, talking informally to Iranian journalists and bloggers.
Farshad, editor of Gooya and Gooya news, challenged the Minister directly to explain why one of his websites is blocked (and is only available to Iranians via a proxy server sponsored by the US government).
"We want to know what the limits are," he told the Minister. "You should tell us what causes a website to be blocked and how you make that decision."
Apparently, the Minister accepted this argument and took the name of Farshad's website away with a promise to email him telling him why they had been blocked. He has said he will also provide explanations to other bloggers.
Farshad, who lives in Belgium, described this as a positive step - a step closer to an informed dialogue about Iran's future.
"We're on the verge of something big," he told Daily Summit. " Weblogs are drawing on the huge energy of a new generation. This generation has changed already. In response, the regime has changed a little. If we keep changing, maybe they will keep changing too."
Farshad described President Khatami's press conference as typical of an Iranian politician. "The Iranian government has a very bad habit. They deny everything in public. But after the official press conference, in personal talks like the one we had today, they are more critical than you are of the situation in Iran!
He believes the President has limited room for manoeuvre in Iran, but he at least understands the challenges. "One of his closest advisors blogs, writing about serious issues, but also putting funny photos on his site."
A response to this story from our Arabic site - plus reaction from Iran (one, two).