31 May 2013, 09:55

US lifts ban on selling communications equipment to Iranians, hopes it would result in more free speech

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The United States has lifted a ban on sales of communications equipment and provision of internet services and social media to Iranians in what they describe as a bid to help Iranians to skirt the government's "attempts to silence its people". The move was made just two weeks before the national elections in Iran, though a senior US administration official has rejected the assumption that the move was targeted at the event.

Now that the sanctions have been lifted, American companies can freely sell computers, tablets, mobile phones, software, satellite receivers and other equipment for personal use to Iranians. Sale and provision of internet communications like instant messaging, chat, email, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing and blogging to Iranians are also allowed now.

According to State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, the lift would allow Iranians to exercise "the right to freedom of expression." With communications equipment in their hands, they have received a tool to better communicate with each other and the outside world, the official is cited as saying in a statement.

On top of that, the move would protect Iranians form cyber-attacks generated by those supporting the Teheran regime and aimed at stifling dissent.

The decision was “a response to their efforts to deprive their citizens of their rights,” said a US administration official and stresses that the move was not timed to the June 14 elections. “The timing is really driven by the continued crackdown within Iran,” he said.

Voice of Russia, The Telegraph

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