Today the Obama administration released a blog post condemning Iran for denying its citizens "a universal right to access information, and to freely assemble online," and says that it is taking steps to make it easier "for Iranian citizens to get the software and services they need to connect with the rest of the world through modern communications methods." In a coinciding statement, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued guidance and licensing information to "support the free flow of information to citizens of Iran" — or in other words, to subvert the alleged censorship efforts of the Iranian government. The US accuses Iran of "controlling the internet" by monitoring and filtering internet content, limiting access, and suspending access, of "creating a culture of fear" with scare tactics, legal measures, spying in internet cafes, and tracking, and of "persecuting foreign broadcasters" by jamming signals, outlawing foreign information, and intimidating journalists. To counter this, OFAC is making certain programs available for export to Iran by US citizens.
OFAC says that it will allow the export of certain software and services by US citizens, located anywhere, to people in Iran — provided they're free. The agency offers an "illustrative list" of the type of things that fall within the scope of the effort, including Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Microsoft Live, Skype, Dropbox, Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash Player, Shockwave, and Java. While the move appears to be intended to provoke influence via the actions of private citizens, the tough language in the White House's announcement echoes escalating rhetoric on Iran in recent months over the country's alleged nuclear ambitions.
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