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Amid internet shutdowns in Iran, US takes step to allow tech firms to help Iranian people access online info

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“It is clear that the Iranian government fears its own people,” Blinken said in a statement. “Mahsa Amini died meaningless, tragic, and now the government is violently suppressing peaceful protesters rightly angry at her loss.”

Blinken said the Treasury Department issued a general license allowing certain transactions that were prohibited under the sanctions, “to further our efforts and commitments to ensure that the Iranian people can freely access information online.”

Iran protests angry as Mahsa Amini's father says authorities lied about her death

“We are taking this step against a stark backdrop,” he said. “The Iranian government has cut off internet access to most of its 80 million citizens to prevent them – and the world – from watching its violent crackdown on peaceful protesters.”

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“We will help ensure that the Iranian people do not remain isolated and in the dark. This is a concrete step to provide meaningful support to Iranians who demand respect for their basic rights,” he said.

According to the Treasury, the general license expands the categories of software and services that can be provided “to include social media platforms, collaboration platforms, and video conferencing, as well as cloud-based services,” giving “additional authorization for services that support communication tools to help ordinary Iranians resist repressive censorship.” on the Internet and monitoring tools deployed by the Iranian regime,” and “eliminates the requirement to verify that communications are “personal” in nature.”

It also “continues to license antivirus and malware software; anti-tracking software; mobile operating systems and related software; anti-censorship tools and related software; virtual private network (VPN) client software; and related software,” noting the Treasury said that “These tools protect the ability of Iranians to engage in freedom of expression and courageously resist the regime’s repression.”

The announcement comes a day after the United States imposed sanctions on Iran’s morality police, in whose custody al-Amiri died.

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