TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's telecommunication minister says authorities will start blocking virtual private network services because of security concerns caused by U.S. support of the services.

A Wednesday report by Iranian newspapers quotes Mohammad Javad Azeri Jahromi as saying some VPN services have links to foreign intelligence services and that the "budgets of some of them are provided by the U.S. government."

Jahromi did not elaborate but said many other VPNs are malware.

A virtual private network extends a private network across a public network, making it possible for users to send and receive data as if they were connected to the public network directly.

Jahromi's remarks came after many people reportedly tried to get access to the popular Telegram messaging app that was blocked in Iran earlier this month via VPNs.