Iranians Get Access to Twitter, Facebook Without Restrictions

(Vahid Salemi/AP Photo)

For the first time in four years, many Iranians logged on to Facebook and Twitter Monday night without using virtual private networks or any anti-filtering software, according to journalists in Tehran. Other blocked sites reportedly remain unavailable.

Following the election protests in 2009, the Iranian government blocked access to Twitter in a bid to limit reporting from the ground. The Green Movement protests, in response to former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election, sparked millions of Iranians to share information and pictures on Twitter. Since then, Iranians have turned to special software to navigate around the block.

There has been no official statement from the Iranian government, and it's not clear whether tonight's access was a technical glitch or whether the change will be permanent.

Just three months after President Hassan Rouhani was elected, pledging greater online access, some Iranian officials have become more active on social media.

President Rouhani's media team tweets regularly from @HassanRouhani and Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif started tweeting earlier this month, and Twitter has already verified his account.

For the time being, at least two Western journalists in Tehran are enjoying the freedom while it lasts.

The New York Times' Tehran bureau chief Thomas Erdbrink tweets:

And the Washington Post's Tehran correspondent Jason Rezaian weighs in:

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PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin works out at Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Aug. 30, 2015.
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