US Members of Congress: Call for sanctioning companies supporting Iran’s internet censorship

PMOI/ MEK staff

3 May 2018— Ten Members of Congress in the United States from both sides of the aisle have written a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump calling for sanctions on companies supporting the Iranian regime’s effort in censoring the internet, suppressing the work of protesters and dissidents, and having a role in blocking the Iranian people’s access to social media.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chair of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, alongside Congressman Brad Sherman, Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, were the main sponsors of this letter calling on the U.S. government to support human rights for the Iranian people. The U.S. should use all its resources to sanction the Iranian regime in its efforts to quell information and targeting dissidents, the letter adds.

A statement issued by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s subcommittee explains how companies providing the necessary technology used by the Iranian regime to censor its dissidents, disrupt protests and limit the free flow of information should come under U.S. government sanctions.

Especially considering the new 2017/2018 flare of protests witnessed in Iran, during which demonstrators were arrested and even killed, it is quite necessary for the U.S. and the international community to use all means available in the name of human rights to limit the Iranian regime in tracking down its dissidents.

Following the 2009 uprising in Iran legal action was taken in the U.S. aiming to sanction those companies selling such sensitive technology to Iran. Despite that effort, no company has come under such sanctions – most likely due to the Obama administration’s appeasement policy vis-à-vis Iran.

Due to the regime’s complete control over the media and the internet, the Iranian people rely on electronic means, and specifically social media, to gain access to news, express their concerns about the ruling regime and share information with each other.

Iranian regime officials have time and again very actively gone the limits to deny this population their necessary access to social media and other electronic communications mediums they used in the recent uprising, all in a very similar fashion to the 2009 protests.

The U.S. can lead the international community in adopting a strong position against companies collaborating with the Iranian regime in this regard and prevent Tehran from targeting its dissidents. Washington should review the Iranian regime’s measures in monitoring people taking part in anti-government protests and its quelling of the free transfer of news into Iran.

Denying Iran such technology is a necessary first step to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people who are very vividly expressing their desire for regime change

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