September 27, 2022

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Treasury Department helps expand internet access to Iranian people amid violent government crackdown

The Department of Treasury announced Friday it was updating guidance to expand internet service to Iranians, most of whom have been cut off from the internet by their own government amid its violent crackdown on peaceful protests.

“While Iran’s government is cutting off its people’s access to the global internet, the United States is taking action to support the free flow of information and access to fact-based information to the Iranian people,” the Treasury said in a press release.

The Iran government on Wednesday cut off global internet access for most of its 80 million citizens, preventing Iranians from sharing footage of the country’s brutal response to peaceful protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman, in the custody of Iran’s Morality Police. Amini was allegedly detained for violating Iran’s ultraconservative dress code.

The police’s violent clashes with protesters continued Friday, with State TV suggesting on Thursday that the death toll from the unrest could be as high as 26 people.

The Treasury Department said Friday it was issuing Iran General License D-2 — an updated license that will expand internet services to people in Iran “by bringing U.S. sanctions guidance in line with the changes in modern technology since its initial issuance.”

The new guidance will offer more options of secure internet platforms and services. The new license addresses a range of internet freedom issues, such as adding covered categories of software and services including social media platforms and video conferencing, as well as providing additional authorization for communication tools “to assist ordinary Iranians in resisting repressive internet censorship.”

“With these changes, we are helping the Iranian people be better equipped to counter the government’s efforts to surveil and censor them,” Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in the press release.

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