Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has urged the country's clerics to be more tolerant of the Internet and new technologies, saying Iran cannot "close the gates to the world."

Rouhani made the appeal during a meeting with clerics in Tehran on Monday, saying that Internet is important for all aspiring students and experts trying to access new knowledge and science. His speech was broadcast in state television.

Rouhani, a relative moderate elected last year, has vowed to expand media and Internet freedoms but has faced resistance from hard-liners.

In Iran, websites and Internet applications have sometimes been reported blocked but mostly remain operational.

Hard-liners also oppose 3G connectivity, saying it paves way for immoral images. But in recent weeks, the government has allowed more Iranian operators to provide 3G service.