In the wake of Iran blocking internet access and leading to a literal blackout of information flow in the country, the United States has sanctioned its information minister, Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi.
According to the US Treasury Department, Jahromi has advanced Tehran’s policy of “repressive internet censorship” while in office and this is something which robs the common man access to freedom of expression.
Iran was faced with a five-day-long nationwide shutdown meant to help stifle protests against fuel price hikes in Iran.
Civilians could not access the internet to post videos or twitter posts and the nation was put under a complete digital shutdown.
While Iran said, it has started rolling back the ban, the US has gone all out to sanction the concerned minister for showing blatant disregard for the interests of the Iranian public.
Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin made a public statement, “We are sanctioning Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology for restricting internet access, including to popular messaging applications that help tens of millions of Iranians stay connected to each other and the outside world.”
The sanction means that Azari-Jahromi property under U.S. jurisdiction is under an official block and bars him from dealing with any U.S. persons, or those transiting the United States, in such property.
Surprisingly, taking to the twitter medium, Jahromi said that he isn’t the first person that the US has sanctioned. “I’ll continue advocating access to Internet & I won’t let the US prohibit Iran development Economic Terrorism,” echoing the message of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Justifying the blackout Jahromi has said that, Iran decided to shut down the internet, to curtail and control confusion over mixed news and information flow. It was merely a way to contain a disaster.
Political analysts are trying his diplomacy to the fact that as the youngest minister in Rouhani’s cabinet, Azari-Jahromi, he is known to have presidential ambitions, which he wouldn’t want to mar.
However, speaking against the lack of freedom of expression, US Secretary Mike Pompeo has also stated that, “We will hold members of the Iranian regime accountable for their violent repression of the Iranian people.”
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