“I won’t let U.S. prohibit Iran’s development,” Jahromi says

ICT minister to U.S.: Before me cancer patients and EB children were sanctioned

November 23, 2019 - 16:4

TEHRAN - Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi has said that he will not let the United States prohibit development in Iran.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a statement on Friday blacklisting him for what it called his role in “widescale internet censorship,” a reference to a nationwide internet shutdown for security reasons during riots against petrol price hike.

“I’m not the only member of club of sanctioned persons (Based on Trump's fairytales). Before me, Iran ICT startups, Developers, Cancer patients and EB children were there. I’ll continue advocating access to Internet & I won’t let US to prohibit Iran development,” Azari Jahromi tweeted on Friday.

The sanctions on Azari Jahromi came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to impose even more sanctions on Iran over the country’s handling of the recent riots.

“I have asked the Iranian protestors to send us their videos, photos, and information documenting the regime’s crackdown on protestors. The U.S. will expose and sanction the abuses,” he tweeted on Thursday.

Abolfazl Hosseinbeigi, who sits on the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian parliament, told the ISNA agency on Wednesday that the main reason for cutting internet access across Iran was that a group of “saboteurs” were using online services like navigation and maps to coordinate their riot activities in large cities, Press TV reported.

A member of the Supreme National Security Council, the body that ordered the internet blackout on Saturday, said that restoration of services would need a “collective decision” at the highest levels of the Iranian government.

Protests were sparked in some cities in Iran against increasing gasoline price. In certain cases, the protests turned violent as some rioters clashed with police, using knives and guns. 

Rioters, who were mainly hooligans, damaged public and private property and put banks and state buildings on fire.  

Judiciary Chief Seyed Ebrahim Raisi said on Friday that maintaining security is the most important issue in the country, stressing that the judiciary will not tolerate any threat to the society’s tranquility.

“Today, Iran is known as the safest country in the region, so we will not allow anybody to put the people’s security in danger,” Raisi pointed out, addressing a gathering of Basiji students in the Imam Ali sports stadium.

The commotion created by some opportunists and rioters over increase in petrol prices lacks logical reason. 

The proceeds from price increase is being paid in form of cash subsidies to 60 million Iranians, who account for about 75 percent of the Iranian population.

Despite a substantial increase in petrol prices, Iran still has the cheapest oil in the world.

The rationed gasoline, which is 60 liters per month, is priced 1500 tomans (35 cents) and any amount beyond that is 3000 tomans (70 cents).

The calculation is based on the official rate of 4200 tomans per dollar. However, the value of dollar in the free market is much higher, around 11,500 tomans. 

In addition, the Oil Ministry is giving more gasoline to taxis, pickups and other passenger cars at the fixed price of 1500 tomans.



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