US allows export of communication devices, software and services to Iran

The U.S. aims to provide the Iranian people with safer, more sophisticated personal communications equipment

The U.S. government has lifted sanctions on the export of a variety of consumer communications devices, software and services including mobile phones to Iran ahead of elections in that country.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the U.S. Department of State, has issued a license authorizing the export to Iran of certain personal communications services, software and hardware, it said on Thursday.

Exports of the devices to Iran had been blocked since the 1990s, but the U.S. government now holds that the new license aims to empower the Iranian people as their government intensifies its efforts to stifle their access to information.

The export of the equipment to the Iranian government or to any individual or entity on a Specially Designated Nationals list continued to be prohibited.

"As the Iranian government attempts to silence its people by cutting off their communication with each other and the rest of the world, the United States will continue to take action to help the Iranian people exercise their universal human rights, including the right to freedom of expression," according to a statement by the two U.S. departments.

The license, which came into effect Thursday, allows for the export and re-export from the U.S. of fee-based services, software and hardware required for personal communications over the Internet, including instant messaging, email, chat, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing and blogging.

The products, software, and services now authorized for export to Iran include mobile phones, personal digital assistants, satellite phones, computers, consumer network equipment, anti-tracking software, anti-censorship tools, virtual private networks, proxy tools and voice-over-IP and video chat tools.

The National Iranian American Council had earlier asked the U.S. government to lift sanctions on communication tools, with elections for a new president for Iran scheduled for June.

Referring to the killing of 26-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan during protests after the last presidential elections in Iran in 2009, the council pointed out that the video of her death which had an impact worldwide over the Internet was available "because an ordinary person in Iran broke U.S. sanctions." The Green Movement, opposing the ruling regime, used social media extensively in its protests.

U.S. sanctions on communications tools in Iran have been in place before social media, text messaging, and cell phones were an everyday part of life, and were felt most acutely four years ago, at the height of Iran's Green Movement protests, the NIAC said in a statement. Except for some limited actions taken by the U.S. to ease sanctions on basic, freely available software, and to license other tools in 2010, the sanctions on communications tools continued until the decision on Thursday.

The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Iran as it holds that the country is enriching uranium that could potentially be used in nuclear weapons. Iran counters that its nuclear program has peaceful objectives.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesinstant messagingregulationhardware systemssocial networkingmobileinternettradeconsumer electronicssmartphonesMailTelephony/conferencingtabletslaptopsgovernmentU.S. Department of the Treasuryvideo

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?