ICT minister slams U.S. for lying over internet blackout

November 25, 2019 - 19:23

TEHRAN – Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi has hit back at the U.S. government for blacklisting him over internet blackout in Iran, saying the U.S. measure was based on a “big lie”.

Azari Jahromi said that neither he nor the Ministry of ICT has had a role in the Internet blackout or its reconnection in Iran amid the recent unrest, saying it reveals the United States’ lie in this regard, Tasnim reported.

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 increase in petrol price.

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’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.

In a tweet on Thursday, Pompeo said, “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.” 

Protests erupted 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 damaged public and private property and put banks, gas stations, and state buildings on fire.  

Judiciary Chief 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.

MH/PA

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