The United States announces measures to facilitate Iranian access to the internet

The United States announced this Friday, September 23, 2022 the lifting of certain trade bans with Iran, in order to allow technology companies to provide platforms and services allowing Iranians to access the Internet.

Access was severely restricted by the authorities in response to protests in support of Mahsa Amini, who died in custody after being arrested for “indecent dress” .

“Support the free flow of information”

The Biden administration has thus relaxed certain sanctions aimed at Iran, in order to authorize “tech companies to provide the Iranian people with more options for secure external platforms and services”the US Treasury Department said in a statement.

“The United States is taking steps to support the free flow of information and access to factual information for the people of Iran”the ministry added.

Washington announced Thursday economic sanctions targeting the Iranian morality police.

The update “will expand the range of internet services available to Iranians. With these changes, we are helping the people of Iran to be better equipped to counter the government’s efforts to monitor and censor them.”commented the deputy treasury secretary, Wally Adeyemo, in a press release.

Internet restricted since protests

Iranian authorities have imposed drastic restrictions on the internet, including blocking access to Instagram and WhatsApp, due to protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman arrested by the morality police.

At least 17 people died in the protests, according to a state media report on Thursday.

Read also: MAINTENANCE. Iran: Mahsa Amini’s death is “the spark that set society ablaze”

NGOs accuse the Iranian authorities of trying to limit the gathering capacity of demonstrators and to be able to repress them behind closed doors.

On Monday, billionaire Elon Musk had indicated that his aerospace company SpaceX intended to request an exemption from sanctions against Tehran from the American administration in order to offer Internet connection services in Iran via its constellation of Starlink satellites.

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