Iran condemns US sanctions on information minister

Tehran [Iraq], Nov 23 (ANI): Iran's Foreign Ministry on Saturday condemned the fresh move by the United States to sanction the Iranian minister of information and communications technology (ICT).

On Friday, the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced sanctions on Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, over what he called the Iranian minister's alleged role in the "wide-scale Internet censorship" in Iran following a recent wave of anti-government protests pertaining to the gas price hike in the country.

"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," Mnuchin had said in a statement.

In a reaction, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi, in a statement cited by Xinhua news agency, earlier today, said, "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."

A review of the Trump administration's record shows that directors of major social networks and communication companies, such as Twitter, have been pressured into silencing the critics, Mousavi said, adding that such a policy reveals Washington's "political and instrumental" approach to free Internet access.

The Iranian Supreme National Security Council has implemented a shutdown of Internet services in Iran since Monday following the outbreak of protests that turned violent in a number of Iranian cities.

Internet access has been gradually restored in the country since Friday night. (ANI)