Remove Sanctions on Communications Infrastructure in Closed Societies to Empower Civil Society
The Obama administration should follow its historic move to normalize diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba and its concurrent initiatives to increase Cuban citizens’ access to communications and their ability to communicate freely, with parallel initiatives for other closed countries, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.
In particular, the Campaign urges the administration to explicitly allow telecommunications providers to establish the necessary mechanisms, including infrastructure, in other closed societies such as Iran and Sudan, in order to provide commercial telecommunications and Internet services in those countries.
The Obama administration demonstrated in its February 2014 lifting of sanctions on personal communications technology tools to Iran, which included software, hardware, and on-line services, that it understood these communication tools are essential for the robust functioning of civil society.
The Campaign believes it is essential to expand on this initiative, similar to the recent decisions with regards to Cuba, by allowing the infrastructure development of mobile communications and Internet services in other closed societies such as Iran and Sudan.
For the past four years, the Campaign has been engaged in a comprehensive advocacy program to ensure that Iranians have the ability to use modern technology and safe communications tools and have full access to the Internet. The Campaign urges the Obama administration to reinforce diplomatic engagement with smart sanctions policies that support and reinforce the re-emergence of civil society.