U.S. Government Sanctions Foreign Companies for Censorship While Encouraging It at Home

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ALLUM BOKHARI 6 Jun 2023

The U.S Department of State has sanctioned Iranian tech company Arvan Cloud, along with its two co-founders and its United Arab Emirates-based affiliate, for “their roles in facilitating the Iranian regime’s censorship of the Internet in Iran.”

Meanwhile, the very same U.S. Department of State has funded efforts to pressure western tech companies to censor Americans. Earlier this year, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) called out the State Department for funding the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), an organization that worked to blacklist conservative media companies for censorship and demonetization.

In its press release announcing the sanctions, the U.S. Treasury condemns Arvan for helping Iranian authorities “control and censor incoming and outgoing traffic,” and blocking websites at the request of the Iranian government.

Arvan is being sanctioned under the provisions of E.O. 13628, a Trump-era executive order that allows for the sanctioning of companies that assist the Iranian regime’s efforts to censor its citizens.

“The United States is committed to holding accountable those who seek to undermine freedom of expression and suppress dissent, and to call out regimes who deny their citizens this right,” Treasury Under Secretary Brian Nelson said.

The sanctions met with immediate criticism from Mike Benz, a Trump-appointed former State Department official who now runs the Foundation for Freedom Online (FFO), which fights against internet censorship.

“Our government is leading the crusade to censor the internet, while sanctioning other countries for censoring their own internet. This is an ‘open society for thee, closed society for me,’” Benz told Just the News.

“There is an incredible myopia right now in the Biden foreign policy establishment. They still use free speech talking points from 2016, as if the last seven years of U.S. domestic speech crackdowns went unnoticed by the international community. It hasn’t.”

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.

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