The Iranian authorities claim to ban Telegram, fearing that its future cryptocurrency Gram will pose a threat to the Iranian national currency.

Hassan Firouzabadi, the secretary of Iran's High Council for Cyberspace, speaking on state TV, supported the idea to ban Telegram, saying that the messenger "is an enemy of the private sector."

“Telegram never [agreed] to have an office in Iran and refused to work with the private sector [in Iran], and it is an enemy of the private sector.”

On 31 March parliamentarian Alaeddin Boroujerdi stated that the decision to ban Telegram was taken at the highest level.

“This was a decision made at the highest levels, and Telegram will be replaced by a domestic app,” he said.

By “highest levels,” Boroujerdi may have meant Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani supported the idea to create Iranian national messenger to substitute US-developed ones.

“The goal of creating and enhancing Iranian software and messaging apps should not be blocking access [to other apps], but [the goal] should be the elimination of monopolies.”

Telegram is very popular in Iran. Earlier, the messenger was criticized by the country's leadership, which believes that it played an important role in organizing protests in December 2017.