By Mehrdad Balali DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran should embrace the Internet rather than see it as a threat, President Hassan Rouhani has said, in remarks that challenge hardliners who have stepped up measures to censor the Web. The weekend speech distances Rouhani from rival conservative clerics, some close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who promote censorship as a tool for protecting the 1979 Islamic revolution which brought the Shiite Muslim clergy to power. It was also his most forceful signal yet of a break with the social media policy of predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who rounded up bloggers and tightened online controls in an eight-year term, especially after protesters used social media to organize mass street demonstrations in 2009. Even if there is an onslaught, which there is, the way to face it is via modern means, not passive and cowardly methods. Iran has long had a contradictory attitude towards the Internet.