Tehran: Social networking site Facebook is now blocked in Iran after the government ordered a ban ahead of the June 12 presidential elections.

The Iranian Labour News Agency reported that the Masadiq Committee ordered the ban to avoid political jockeying.

The website ban came after presidential candidate Hossein Mousavi created a Facebook page for his campaign that has more than 5,000 supporters on the site.

The challengers of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are increasingly turning to the internet to spread their campaign.

Facebook, in a statement, regretted the ban, saying they were "disappointed" that users in Iran have no access to the internet for information about election candidates.

"We believe that people around the world should be able to use Facebook to communicate and share information with their friends, family and co-workers. It is always a shame when a country's cultural and political concerns lead to limits being placed on the opportunity for sharing and expression that the Internet provides," a Facebook spokesman said.