Reza Taghipour, the country’s telecommunications minister, said the step was being taken because sensitive intelligence was vulnerable on the worldwide web, which he said was untrustworthy because it was controlled by “one or two” countries hostile to Iran.

“The establishment of the national intelligence network will create a situation where the precious intelligence of the country won’t be accessible to these powers,” Mr Taghipour told a conference on Sunday at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University.

He described the move as the first phase of a project to replace the global internet with a domestic intranet system scheduled to be completed within 18 months.