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Iran ends text message blackout

Three weeks after election day

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Iran's ban on SMS texting has been lifted for the first time since the country's disputed presidential election, according to reports.

Mobile phone text-messaging systems in Iran have been unavailable since June 11, just hours before polls opened. The BBC now reports the 20-day blackout of SMS text messaging services has ended, although technical problems are clogging the works.

According to Iranian news sources monitored by the BBC, messages up to three weeks old are just now being received. Others are getting multiple repeated messages.

The Iranian government is believed to have blocked SMS text messaging services because the technology was being used to rally opposition voters during the contested election campaign. Domestic and international media was also restricted, making international coverage rather spotty.

Last week, MTN Group – Africa's largest cellphone network operator - claimed its Iran network was working fine, denying numerous reports to the contrary.

"MTN network is running in Iran and there is nothing wrong with it," a MTN Group spokeswoman told Reuters.

Despite restrictions on SMS text messaging, Mousavi supporters have been able to send information and images of election protests through blogging as well as social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. ®

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