U.S. government lifts sanction on Iran telecom equipment sales

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Department of State have lifted trade sanctions that restricted the sale of communications equipment and software to businesses in Iran.

By issuing a General License that authorizes the export to Iran of certain services, software, and hardware incident to personal communications, the U.S. Treasury said that U.S. providers can "provide the Iranian people with safer, more sophisticated personal communications equipment to communicate with each other and with the outside world."   

The State Department and Treasury have also opened access to Internet services and social media sites like Facebook in an effort to help overcome the Iranian government's "attempts to silence its people by cutting off their communication with each other and the rest of the world."

According to the National Iranian American Council (NAIC), these sanctions meant that companies could not sell network hardware and services such as laptops, cellphones and VPNs to businesses and consumers in Iran.  

Although this is a positive first step, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) thinks that the U.S. government could do more. The group said that removing the sanctions "'will not curb the regime's intrusive surveillance and censorship system, or its brutal crackdown on communication networks and the Iranians that use them."

UANI wants sanctions placed on other telecom equipment and software companies such as MTN, Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC), Nokia Siemens Networks, Creativity Software, ZTE and Huawei, all of which it says "have provided the regime with the services and technology necessary to monitor and track dissidents for detention, arrest, or torture."

For more:
- TeleGeography has this article
- see the Treasury release

Related articles:
Feds boost probe into Chinese telecom ZTE
AT&T claims IPTV providers are content leaders; Iran to lift ban on Facebook and Twitter
Obama announces U.S. sanctions against telecoms in Iran, Syria

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