Iran raps US sanctions on ICT minister

Tasnim – Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson condemned the US move to impose sanctions on Iranian Minister of Communication and Information Technology Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi.

In a statement on Saturday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi denounced the “US regime’s sanctions” against Azari Jahromi for his role in what Washington has described as “widescale internet censorship” during the recent wave of foreign-backed riots that hit a number of Iranian cities as a result of fuel price hikes.

“It is clear to everyone that the current US administration places no value on democratic principles and values, transparency and human rights, including free (access to the) Internet for others,” Mousavi said.

He said a review of the US administration’s record shows that directors of major social networks and communication companies, such as Twitter, have been pressured into silencing the critics, adding that such a policy reveals Washington’s “political and instrumental” approach to free Internet access.

On Friday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused Azari Jahromi of advancing Tehran’s policy of “internet censorship” while in office.

“We are sanctioning Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) 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,” he said.

The Supreme National Security Council of Iran has implemented a partial shutdown of internet services since a week ago, after the outbreak of protests that turned violent in a number of cities.