U.S. targeting Iran's Internet?

March 11, 2010 at 1:43 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- Washington is backing a measure that would restrict Iranian access to technology meant to block or limit access to the Internet, a report says.

Washington is at work on a U.N. measure to sanction Iran for its controversial nuclear activity. Tehran insists its nuclear work is for civilian energy, though Western allies suspect the program is weapons-related.

Washington is supporting a measure that would limit Iran's access to software and equipment that could block Internet access, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

The opposition movement that grew out of contested Iranian presidential elections in June used social networking like Facebook and Twitter to get around media restrictions.

After Iran barred foreign journalists from covering events in the country, opposition supporters downloaded cell-phone videos to the Internet to highlight alleged government crackdown on dissent.

The U.S. State Department reportedly called on Twitter in 2009 to delay maintenance work in order to keep the site open as unrest unfolded in Iran.

In February, U.S. Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., introduced a bill that calls on Washington to adopt a policy that supports an opposition movement in Iran while denying the regime the means to pursue nuclear weapons and advocate terrorism in the Middle East.

"We must be prepared to stand behind Iranians who are ready to replace a regime that rules by terror with a government that is chosen by the Iranian people, respects human rights and does not pose a threat to world peace," said Brownback.

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