Iran could permit Internet giants like Google to operate in the Islamic Republic, if they respect its "cultural" rules, Fars news agency revealed on Sunday (1 March).

Deputy Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Nasrollah Jahangard told Fars news agency: "We are not opposed to any of the entities operating in global markets who want to offer services in Iran.

"We are ready to negotiate with them and if they accept our cultural rules and policies they can offer their services in Iran."

Jahangard added that Iran is even willing to "provide Google or any other company with facilities" required for the organizations to provide services in the region.

According to estimates, forty million people out of a population of 78 million in Iran, are tuned in to the Internet. However, Iranian authorities very regularly block access to social media sites, like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Jahangard told Fars news agency that if sanctions continue against Iran over its nuclear programme, this could "create problems for American companies."

"They are waiting for the international legal conditions to be cleared before they can operate conveniently (in Iran) but other companies outside the US have come forward and started negotiations. Some have accepted the conditions ... technical preparations are underway for them to enter the Iranian market," said Jahangard.

World powers Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany are in negotiations with Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of international sanctions.

A deadline of 31 March is set to draft a political framework for the deal.