US Allows Iranians to Access Software That Bypasses Internet Restrictions

US Allows Iranians to Access Software That Bypasses Internet Restrictions

Pro-government Iranians rallied in Tehran on Friday against recent protest rallies.



WASHINGTON—The United States is giving Iranians access to export-controlled technology that will allow them to bypass the clerical regime’s latest crackdown on communications, including a new Internet blackout imposed this week.

The Treasury Department responded Friday to Tehran’s restriction of Internet access in much of the country by issuing a new license that allows US companies to provide Iranians with cyber services that can help them maintain a digital connection with the world. .

Iranian authorities have moved to quell a protest movement for women’s rights in construction sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini late last week in police custody for allegedly violating the strict dress code. Islamic of Iran. The protests have turned violent with security forces using tear gas and firing live ammunition.

Later on Thursday, the US Treasury sanctioned Iran’s morality police and top security officials. To counter Tehran’s internet blackout, aimed at the movement’s reliance on social media to express dissent and rally support, the Treasury issued a license authorizing US companies to offer Iranian citizens internet platforms and services. insurance. A license is needed as that technology is otherwise prohibited under an economy-wide sanctions program.

“The United States is redoubling its support for the free flow of information to the Iranian people,” Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a statement accompanying the action. “We are helping the Iranian people to be better equipped to counter the government’s efforts to monitor and censor them,” he said.

More guidance expanding on this latest effort will be issued in the coming weeks, Mr. Adeyemo added.

The new license applies to software but not hardware that tech billionaire and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk seeks to provide services in Iran for his Starlink satellite internet system, which could help boost access to outside information in the space. country.

US lawmakers on Thursday urged the US Treasury Department to authorize Musk’s request.

Iranian officials have said that the Western response to Ms. Amini’s death reflects a double standard of criticizing Tehran and passing up other abuses.

write to Ian Talley at

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