The Iranian government concluded 2018 by declaring the popular messaging app Telegram and their developing cryptocurrency token a threat to the national economy.
The Tehran Times reported that Javad Javidnia, Iran's Secretary Secretary of the Criminal Content Definition Task Force, will consider any cooperation with Telegram will be considered an act against national security and a disruption to the economy.
In 2018 Telegram held an initial coin offering (ICO) for its coming blockchain platform Telegraph Open Network (TON) and Gram token. Telegram raised nearly $1.7 billion in investments to support the development of the Telegram messenger app and TON. Javidnia said:
One of the most important factors in banning Telegram was a sense of serious economic threat from its activities, which was unfortunately marginalized and neglected due to the fuss in the political atmosphere of the country.
The latest statements come after Iran first banned the app from government use back in April 2018. Eventually the app would be banned in Iran altogether. Iranian officials have stated that Telegram's ICO was potentially “undermin[ing] the national currency of Iran.”
Hassan Firouzabadi, the secretary of the High Council of Cyberspace, referred to Telegram as an “enemy of the private sector,” since “Telegram never [agreed] to have an office in Iran and refused to work with the private sector.”