Iran blocks YouTube, Google over Mohammed video

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Story highlights

  • Iran warns citizens not to try to access YouTube or Google after the Internet sites are blocked
  • The Islamic republic is responding to a controversial video mocking Mohammed
  • Some protests against the video have turned violent, but most have been peaceful

Iran blocked YouTube and its owner Google over the weekend because of an inflammatory movie trailer about the Prophet Mohammed that has infuriated Muslims in many countries around the world.

The sites were blocked "because of public demand," Iran's semiofficial Mehr news agency said Monday.

"Google and YouTube continued to carry the film clip that insulted our people's sacred beliefs," the agency said, citing an unnamed source in Iran's Internet Authority.

Iran's president slams anti-Islam film

Iran was responding to a 14-minute online trailer for "Innocence of Muslims," a once obscure film that mocks Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and killer.

Demonstrations against the movie and the country in which it was privately produced, the United States, spread across many countries this month.

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Most of the demonstrations have been peaceful, but a number have been marked by violence that has left more than two dozen people dead -- among them U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Kamran Saghafi, of the High Council for the Internet in Iran, warned Iranians not to try to access the sites.

"Internet users must voluntarily stop using those services and must not even try getting connected, even if it is just to see if they can succeed," Mehr quoted him as saying.

He said that the council was not involved in the decision to block the global Internet giants' sites, but that the action was "legal and authorized."

Mehr quoted a source in the Ministry of Technology as saying that authorities who are in charge of filtering the Internet made the decision.

Last week, Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanded that the United States remove the controversial movie from YouTube.

President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have disavowed the video.

More: Pakistani minister wants filmmaker dead

      Attacks on U.S. missions

    • A testy exchange erupted between Sen. John McCain and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey during the latter's testimony about September's deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
    • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took on Republican congressional critics of her department's handling of the deadly September terrorist attack in Libya.
    • Children in Benghazi hold up placards reading "No to terrorism" (R) and "yes for stability and security" on January 15.

      Bilal Bettamer wants to save Benghazi from those he calls "extremely dangerous people." But his campaign against the criminal and extremist groups that plague the city has put his life at risk.
    • Protesters near the US Embassy in Cairo.

      Was the attack on the Libyan U.S. Consulate the result of a mob gone awry, a planned terror attack or a combination of the two?
    • Image #: 19358881    Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, smiles at his home in Tripoli June 28, 2012. Stevens and three embassy staff were killed late on September 11, 2012, as they rushed away from a consulate building in Benghazi, stormed by al Qaeda-linked gunmen blaming America for a film that they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad. Stevens was trying to leave the consulate building for a safer location as part of an evacuation when gunmen launched an intense attack, apparently forcing security personnel to withdraw. Picture taken June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori (LIBYA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST OBITUARY)       REUTERS /ESAM OMRAN AL-FETORI /LANDOV

      Three days before the deadly attack in Benghazi, a local security official says he warned U.S. diplomats about deteriorating security.
    • For the latest news on developments in the Middle East and North Africa in Arabic.