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Textless in Tehran: Huge Turnout Despite SMS Disruptions

(PRAGUE, Czech Republic) On a day when millions of Iranians went to the polls to vote for president, cell phone users found themselves without the ability to send and receive SMS text messages. Radio Farda, RFE/RL’s Persian Service, confirmed that, at first, text messages from the two reformist presidential candidates were blocked from reaching supporters on Thursday evening. Eventually, Iran’s entire SMS infrastructure went down. As of Friday night, service has not been restored.

An official from Iran’s state telecommunications company confirmed the SMS disruption and said, vaguely, that it may have been caused by “other entities” in the government.

Also, Radio Farda has learned that at least five pro-reformist websites have been blocked. And the headquarters of a pro-reformist Internet TV program has been attacked by an unknown group and has stopped its broadcasts.

Radio Farda’s ongoing coverage includes more than 50 experts, reporters and ordinary people inside Iran as well as live reports from expats voting in Europe, Australia, Malaysia, and elsewhere. Radio Farda is also providing instant updates and analysis on its website, Facebook and Twitter.