Today we are issuing a General License to advance our efforts and commitments to ensure that the Iranian people can freely access information online. This update modernizes the Treasury Department license to expand the free flow of information and access to fact-based information to people in Iran consistent with the new ways people use the Internet today, especially the common communication activities of Iranians and use of the digital services. These steps will help counter the Iranian government’s efforts to surveil and censor its citizens. As a result of this expanded General License, technology firms will be able to provide more digital services to people in Iran, from access to cloud computing services to better tools to enhance their online security and privacy.
We are taking this step against a stark backdrop. The Iranian government has cut off access to the Internet for most of its 80 million citizens to prevent them – and the world – from watching its violent crackdown on peaceful protestors. It is clear that the Iranian government is afraid of its own people. Mahsa Amini is senselessly, tragically dead, and now the government is violently suppressing peaceful protesters rightly angry about her loss.
In the face of these steps, we are going to help make sure the Iranian people are not kept isolated and in the dark. This is a concrete step to provide meaningful support to Iranians demanding that their basic rights be respected.