The Treasury Department announced Friday that it was updating guidelines to extend internet service to Iranians, most of whom have been cut off from the internet by their own government amid violent crackdown on peaceful protests.
“As the Iranian government cuts 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 Iranian government on Wednesday cut off global internet access to most of its 80 million citizens, preventing Iranians from sharing images 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 the Iranian vice squad. Amini was reportedly detained for violating Iran’s ultra-conservative dress code.
Police’s violent clashes with protesters continued on Friday, with state television on Thursday suggesting 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 extend internet services to people in Iran “by aligning US sanctions guidelines with changes in modern technology since its first issuance.”
The new directive will provide more opportunities for 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, and providing additional authorization for communication tools “to help ordinary Iranians resist repressive internet censorship.”
“With these changes, we will help the Iranian people be better equipped to counter the government’s attempts to control and censor them,” Deputy Finance Minister Wally Adeyemo said in the press release.