In a statement issued today the government said it was relaxing the rules in the hope that the technologies will be used to allow those opposed to the established regime to coordinate their activities and protest effectively and communicate outside national borders.
"Consistent with the Administration's deep commitment to the universal rights of all the world's citizens, the issuance of these general licenses 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. Today's actions will enable Iranian, Sudanese and Cuban citizens to exercise their most basic rights," said Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin.
The ban will be lifted on technologies covering personal communications over the internet, including web browsing, blogging, email, instant messaging, and chat; social networking; and photo and movie sharing. In addition other software sales could be allowed but these will be cleared on a case by case basis.
"As recent events in Iran have shown, personal internet-based communications like email, instant messaging and social networking are powerful tools," said Wolin.
"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."
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