- U.S. casts doubt on credibility of Iran election
- Demonstrations in two Iranian universities
- Shahrokh Zamani and Khaled Hardani are on hunger strike
- Another civilian is sentenced to death in Khomeini Shahr
- Five Years of Imprisonment for Baha'i Leaders
- Kurdish Death Row Prisoner Transferred, His Lawyer Arrested
- US Congress Moves Toward Full Trade Embargo on Iran
- Israel says UN pressure having no effect on curbing Iran nukes
- U.S. Congress moves to tighten sanctions on Iran
- Iran pushes ahead with new nuclear plant that worries West
- Iran acts to expand sensitive nuclear capacity: diplomats
- CIA head visits Israel to discuss Syria, Iran's nuclear program
- Women skirt Iranian music ban with fancy dress
- Religious leaders ban 30 women from running for Iran's presidency
- Iranian cleric: Women can't be president in Iran
- Iranians marrying foreigners without state consent face prosecution
- More women smuggling drugs out of Iran
- Canada’s High Court could try Iran for Zahra Kazemi murder
- Iranian troops are fighting in Syria, says US
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Bahrain claims Iranian drone found
- UK: Iran, Hezbollah increasing support for Assad
- When it comes to Syria and Hezbollah, Israel is walking a tightrope
- IRGC: World now eying Iranian regime's resistance
Monday 23 April 2012
President Barack Obama has signed an executive order targeting people and entities who use technology to help authoritarian regimes in Iran and Syria suppress their people.
"Technologies should be in place to empower citizens, not to oppress them," Obama said on Monday at a speech at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
Obama was introduced at the museum by Holocaust survivor Eli Wiesel. Obama told Wiesel: "You show us the way. If you cannot give up, if you can believe, then we can believe."
The president said the White House's new "atrocities prevention board" will meet for the first time Monday. He said the board's aim was to better prevent and respond to mass atrocities and war crimes. Obama said the "seeds of hate" had too often been allowed to flourish. "Too often the world has failed to stop the massacre of innocents on a massive scale," said the president.
Obama's speech came as the US faces calls to orchestrate an international solution to the deadly crackdown on dissidents in Syria. "National sovereignty is never a license to slaughter your people," Obama said.
In the executive order the president said the "malign use of technology" was facilitating human rights abuses in Iran and Syria and was a threat to the national security of the US.
The order blocks people associated with the supply and operation of these technologies from entering the US and seizes and property or assets they have in the US.
While social media and other technologies have been cited as aiding rebellions in countries including Libya and Egypt, other regimes including Bahrain, Syria and Iran have used technology to track dissidents.
Much of the technology used by oppressive regimes was supplied by US firms. Last year the Wall Street Journal reported that McAfee, part of tech giant Intel, had provided content-filtering software used in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
A White House statement said the executive order "authorises sanctions and visa bans against those who commit or facilitate grave human rights abuses via information technology … related to Syrian and Iranian regime brutality."
"This tool allows us to sanction not just those oppressive governments, but the companies that enable them with technology they use for oppression, and the 'digital guns for hire' who create or operate systems used to monitor, track, and target citizens," the White House statement said.