Internet Blackout Damages Iran’s Post, E-Commerce

The National Iranian Post Company announced Sunday it is assessing its profits as Iranian authorities continue to block access to mobile networks and communication platforms as a means to curb the raging protests.

Iran restricted access to Instagram and WhatsApp despite warnings that internet blackout would disrupt the retail ecommerce sector.

Lawmaker Mojtaba Tavangar, who heads the parliament’s digital economy commissions, said that internet restrictions in the country must be temporary.

“Any decision the authorities want to make in the future should carefully consider the profits of businesses offering services online to prevent harming the people’s livelihood and causing resentment,” he said.

The semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Tavangar as saying that the protests have largely affected e-commerce businesses in Iran.

Late last month, the E-Commerce Association in Tehran warned of a new collapse in the labor market.

It said that 400,000 Iranian businesses were at risk of going bust and one million people will likely lose their jobs as a result of the internet blackout.

Iran’s deputy Minister of Communication and director of the National Post Company, Mahmoud Liyaei, said the blocking of access to the Internet in the past three weeks of protests have reduced by third the Iranian Post’s profits with a sharp decline of online sales.

For his part, head of the E-Commerce Union in Iran Farshad Vakilzadeh told ILNA agency that internet restrictions have reduced online sales by 40 to 70 percent for owners of small businesses, and by 10-20 percent for large store owners.

He also stressed that shops exclusively relying on Instagram to market their products, have seen a severe decline in businesses, sometimes reaching 100 percent.


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