Blinken says US will “find ways to facilitate technological services” to provide internet access to Iranians in the event of a blackout – KION546

Jennifer Hensler and Kelly Atwood, CNN

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Tuesday that the Biden administration “will certainly look for ways to facilitate the delivery of technology services to the Iranian people” amid widespread internet outages during the nationwide unrest.

Anti-government protests raged across Iran after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the country’s morality police in mid-September.

Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a general license designed to allow companies to provide Internet access to Iranians without fear of sanctions.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Blinken noted that the new general license “authorizes companies to provide services such as cloud services, privacy technology, security technology, hardware and software to enable Iranians to better interact with each other and with the world. communicate with other regions.”

“In this case, individual companies can come to us, which is OFAC, to determine whether their technology is compliant with the license,” he added, referring to the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

However, technical hurdles remain, as some services require hardware to run. Blinken declined to say whether the U.S. would work with the company to physically ship such hardware into Iran. The U.S. and Iran have no diplomatic relations, and the U.S. government has no presence there.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday that it was up to private companies to “take such steps as they deem appropriate” to expand Internet access in Iran, without providing information on whether the newly issued U.S. General License was expanding Internet access. Aspects that have a noticeable impact. right to use.

“The Treasury Department has taken steps through a general license to authorize other companies, through its automated enforcement capabilities, to provide software and hardware that can operate in Iran under certain circumstances,” he said at a news conference on Monday.

“Of course, we’re not going to talk about what it takes for any such hardware to come into Iran. That’s our responsibility, it’s our responsibility to make sure there are no restrictions, U.S. government restrictions that prevent the software, and in some cases, the hardware can’t be inside Iran. run,” he said.

In addition to issuing general licenses, the Biden administration last week imposed sanctions on the ethics police for “abuse and violence against Iranian women and violations of the rights of peaceful Iranian protesters.”

“Masa should be alive today,” Blinken said Tuesday. “The only reason she doesn’t is because a brutal regime has taken her life and taken her life because she should be making decisions about what she wears or doesn’t wear.”

“Women in Iran have the right to wear what they want, they have the right to be free from violence, they have the right to be free from harassment. This is true in Iran, it is true, it should be true everywhere,” he said .

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CNN’s Casey Riddle contributed to this report.

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