Iran has banned Google’s Gmail service from the country, saying that it was launching a state run alternative to the popular web-based email site that would “build trust between people and the government”, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The paper said on Wednesday the move was announced by Iran’s telecommunications agency, but that it was unclear whether it had yet had an effect on the availability of Gmail in Iran.

The Gmail ban comes amid high tension between the government and the opposition, with the regime increasingly tracking the efforts of opposition supporters on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The report said that Gmail is one of the most popular of the western mail services in Iran, especially among young people who are among the strongest supporters of the opposition.

Google had no immediate comment on the report.

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