US eases sanctions on Cuba, Iran, Sudan to allow freer Web
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In a bid to allow freer speech and access to information, the US Treasury has eased sanctions on Cuba, Iran and Sudan, allowing exports of services related to Web browsing, blogging, email, instant messaging, social networking and file-sharing.
AFP - The US Treasury Department eased sanctions on Cuba, Iran and Sudan on Monday to allow exports of Internet communications services such as instant messaging, email and social networks.
The Treasury Department said the move was intended to "ensure that individuals in these countries can exercise their universal right to free speech and information to the greatest extent possible."
Lifting the ban on exports of software and services "will make it easier for individuals in Iran, Sudan and Cuba to use the Internet to communicate with each other and with the outside world," Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin said in a statement.
"Today's action will enable Iranian, Sudanese and Cuban citizens to exercise their most basic rights," Wolin said.
The Treasury Department said exports would be allowed of services related to Web browsing, blogging, email, instant messaging, chat, social networking and photo- and movie-sharing.
"As recent events in Iran have shown, personal Internet-based communications like email, instant messaging and social networking are powerful tools," Wolin said. "This software will foster and support the free flow of information -- a basic human right -- for all Iranians.
"At the same time as we take these steps, the administration will continue aggressively to enforce existing sanctions and to work with our international partners to increase the pressure on the government of Iran to meet its international obligations," Wolin added.
Opposition supporters in Iran used social networking sites and services such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in their communications efforts following the country's disputed presidential election.
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