Technology and U.S. Foreign Policy
Tehran Bureau - PBS

Last week, the Obama administration took a positive step in addressing what had been an embarrassing incongruity in U.S. policy towards Iran. While publicly espousing democratic ideals, the United States prohibited Iranian citizens from downloading mass-market Internet communication tools vital to combating the suppression of information by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

However, while laudable, removing sanctions on instant messaging and social networking software is not enough. Specifically, Congress and the Executive Office should implement complementary regulations that help Iranian citizens access such tools immediately.

In an attempt to reshape public opinion in Iran after a tumultuous summer and ongoing protests, leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran have engaged in an almost unprecedented information crackdown -- increasing levels of censorship across all media, sporadically blocking or slowing the Internet, and intimidating journalists and photographers.

Information sharing is particularly important in Iran today. The main opposition, the Green Movement, has supported and sustained itself by information distribution. Prompt and mass communication is vital, given that it is a viral movement made up of many different camps collaborating to protest government corruption and authoritarianism.

The Iranian government recognizes the role technology plays in promoting dissent and has taken steps to undermine t... >>>

recommended by Monda