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U.S. Authorizes Sales of American Communication Tech To Iran 108

Posted by Soulskill
from the applying-a-sepia-filter-to-your-breakfast-is-a-fundamental-human-right dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A report at SF Gate notes that 'The United States has lifted portions of two-decades-old sanctions against Iran in an effort to bolster communication between the country's citizens — and potentially aid organization against a repressive Iranian government. Thursday afternoon the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control authorized the sale of hardware and software that pertain to the Internet, instant messaging, chat, e-mail, social networking, sharing of media, and blogging — basically, all things digital. The Treasury Department wrote, 'As the Iranian government attempts to silence its people by cutting off their communication with each other and the rest of the world, the United States will continue to take action to help the Iranian people exercise their universal human rights, including the right to freedom of expression.'"
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U.S. Authorizes Sales of American Communication Tech To Iran

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  • I wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HaZardman27 (1521119) on Friday May 31, 2013 @11:03AM (#43872927)
    Do you have to pay extra to not have Stuxnet installed out-of-the-box?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 31, 2013 @11:08AM (#43873005)
      No, I think they're stux with it.
    • Do you have to pay extra to not have Stuxnet installed out-of-the-box?

      Not if you accept advertising.

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      Revealed: One weird trick that the Mullahs don't want you to know that you can use for more freedom and prosperity.

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  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Friday May 31, 2013 @11:03AM (#43872931)

    >> U.S. Treasury Department: "universal human rights, including the right to freedom of expression"

    The fine print: "...unless you advocate the rule of law based on the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights."

  • Infiltrate! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday May 31, 2013 @11:03AM (#43872941) Homepage

    You do realize this is simply a cold hearted attempt to bring Iran to it's knees. Hear me out ....

    - Iran is subjected to crushing economic sanctions. Their economy makes Newark, NJ look like a paradise on earth.
    - Now, Apple and Sony can dump their high priced, effete toys on a naive, unsuspecting populace.
    - Billions of dollars flow outward from the Iran economy which, heretofore, had been largely supported by itinerant photoshop interns.
    - Profit
    - Iran collapses in a heap of shiny trinkets!

    USA! USA! USA! (oh, and China...)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tnk1 (899206)

      If you take away the commercial aspect, that is pretty much what they want to happen.

      They want the Iranians to see that not everyone lives in a medieval theocracy. Also, they want people to see that the US is not their enemy and that their leaders are messing with them and denying them liberties they could be having.

      The hope is that they will then see who the real enemy is: their own government.

      Of course, the shiny trinkets thing is also a distinct possibility too.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They want the Iranians to see that not everyone lives in a medieval theocracy.

        This from an American? Priceless.

      • Re:Infiltrate! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by orgelspieler (865795) <w0lfie@[ ].com ['mac' in gap]> on Friday May 31, 2013 @12:56PM (#43874423) Journal
        ha ha ha. If you think that Iranians aren't already fully aware of the way the "civilized world" lives, you're smoking crack. They know just fine. Coca-cola, Mickey Mouse, all that shit is (or at least was) commonplace. Had we left them the hell alone back in the 70's, things would have been a lot more America friendly over there. Hell, there might even be a Disney World - Prince of Persia theme park by now. The only reason they see us as the enemy is because we thought it was in our best interest to fuck with Russia by destabilizing that whole area. Mission fucking accomplished.
        • by Xest (935314)

          Yes, it would've been better to leave them to the Russians like with Syria and Iraq because they obviously became such Western loving bastions of freedom in the middle east.

          It's quite possible that whatever happened it would've ended up a hatred filled shit hole. The absence of American interference doesn't always inherently lead to a peace loving forward thinking progressive nation, it's quite possible that it can be just as bad regardless.

          You can certainly pin the blame for the way Iran turned out on Amer

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by femtobyte (710429)

        They want the Iranians to see that not everyone lives in a medieval theocracy.

        Guess what? They *already fucking know that* --- and they know the *reason* they are living in a medieval theocracy is American interference blowing away their secular democracy and installing a brutal right-wing dictatorship that made theocracy look like a good choice in comparison. You're an ignorant condescending prick if you think Iran isn't already a modern, technologically savvy country filled with people who know what's going on in the world (probably much better than Fox-News-watching Americans). Th

        • Re:Infiltrate! (Score:4, Informative)

          by cold fjord (826450) on Friday May 31, 2013 @03:01PM (#43876267)

          ...and they know the *reason* they are living in a medieval theocracy is American interference blowing away their secular democracy and installing a brutal right-wing dictatorship that made theocracy look like a good choice in comparison.

          I doubt that many Iranians share your ignorance on the matter. If you know much at all about the history there, you know that the so-called secular democracy that was replaced consisted solely of the former Prime Minister who had dissolved parliament, was ruling by decree indefinitely, faked an election, and resisted the sole remaining check on his power - the right of the constitutional monarch to dismiss the Prime Minister. What you refer to as "democracy" was a simple dictatorship at that point. The real coup in Iran was the Prime Minister overthrowing the government. The counter-coup was restoring, not "instilling," the Shaw to power.

          The Iranian people have clearly learned from the mistake of instilling the Ayatollahs into power, but the problem is remedying that. They ended up there in no small part due to the common interest that Muslim peoples have in instituting Islamic Sharia law, which they believe will resolve the common cultural problems in those regions, such as corruption. Unfortunately, it never really works out that way in the long term.

          The Iranian people are just smart enough to know that welcoming Western megacorporate colonial oppression isn't the best solution to their "we have a sucky government" problem

          That is nonsense beyond your bad history above. Corporations perform economic functions, not governing functions. They build trucks, mine ore, refine gasoline, can food, transport goods, run airlines, all that sort of thing. They don't elect governing legislative bodies, make laws, prosecute criminals, or make government policy. Economic activity versus government activity - they are different activities carried out by different groups in society. Although to truly prosper, a nation needs to get both activities right.

          they've seen what partnering with America does to all the other countries we fuck over in the name of "economic liberalization".

          It would be a shame if they turned out as well as Germany, Japan, Italy, South Korea, or various other countries, wouldn't it? Iraq would be in much better shape if Iran wasn't shipping arms to Iraqi Shia militias and using their Revolutionary Guards Quds Force (Special Forces) to stir the pot. That is part of the "sucky government" problem you refer to, and it bleeds over into other countries.

          You're an ignorant condescending prick

          I think you might be surprised to find out how big that club really is.

          • by lzm_ (2938135)
            Exactly. I do not understand, why people think Mossadegh was kind of hero. He, for example, dissolved the parliament and demand dictatorial powers. This is the problem with people nowadays. They are not critical. They believe whatever somebody that is a bit confident tells them without questioning them. Which is sad, and not something I expected of the internet generation. It can also be discussed. According to many sources, Iranian and western, the coup against Mossadegh failed and did not happen. Instea
      • Maybe I'm just being cranky, but it's depressing that in that case, liberties=internet chat.

      • by wmac1 (2478314)

        Oh boy....

        How much do you know about a country which has 2.5 million university students (around 40,000 PhD candidates) and 11+ million university graduates and had a ranking of 17th in scientific products in 2011 (15th in 2012 ahead of Russia) : http://www.scimagojr.com/countryrank.php?area=0&category=0&region=all&year=2011&order=it&min=0&min_type=it [scimagojr.com]

        Last October when I visited Iran almost all of the middle class engineers I met had an iPhone, Galaxy S3 or something like that. Street

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Considering we had a guy running for POTUS that was singing "Bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran" with a big shit eating grin on his face WTF does anyone here think Iran is gonna think of the USA? Not to mention the last time they had a democracy we murdered their leader and forced in the Shah so BP could get cheap oil on the backs and blood of all those murdered by our dear beloved puppet the Shah.

        I wish those that just blindly wave the flag would take a look at the history of the CIA and US Military since the end of

        • Not to mention the last time they had a democracy we murdered their leader and forced in the Shah so BP could get cheap oil on the backs and blood of all those murdered by our dear beloved puppet the Shah.

          Your history is way off there. The so-called secular democracy in Iran at the point in question consisted solely of the former Prime Minister who had dissolved parliament, was ruling by decree indefinitely, faked an election, and resisted the sole remaining check on his power - the right of the constitutional monarch to dismiss the Prime Minister. What you refer to as "democracy" was a simple dictatorship at that point. The real coup in Iran was the Prime Minister overthrowing the government. The counter-c

          • by dbIII (701233)

            that I believe were discovered after the invasion

            With respect to whatever you actually know of other topics, it's still not safe for mining exploration there and it was found decades ago (before 1980) by a Russian survey so you are very wrong in this case. What was new is a Russian company with the survey data attempting to do a deal with a US company so it came to the attention of the US press a few years ago.

            As for your bits about Iran - no matter how flawed things were back then they haven't had anythi

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              The Shah was a monster, just as nasty as Stalin was to his people and we honestly DID NOT CARE as long as big oil got to do what they want. I wish i could find another copy of the map showing CIA and US military "interventions" since WWII because there was MAYBE a dozen countries on the entire planet that the CIA or US Military hadn't fucked with, it was pretty sad to look at.

              Ike tried to warn us about this in the 1950s, about the rise of the MIC and the megacorps buying the US military and CIA to use as

              • by dbIII (701233)

                I wish i could find another copy of the map showing CIA and US military "interventions" since WWII

                I'm still getting astounded by little bits of history resurfacing like CIA involvement in a bomb blast in Italy in 1969 - they really were completely out of control for a while.

                • by hairyfeet (841228)

                  Its not astounding, its fucking scary and evil as hell. You start looking into the history of the US military and CIA after WWII and you'll find false flags, terrorist actions, including those in democracies like Italy, hell the CIA helped the Contras sell crack cocaine to the black neighborhoods in the 80s when the congress cut off funding to the Contra "rebels" after finding out about their rape and death squads which to this day I still believe those in the CIA that helped the Contras should face a firin

      • by dbIII (701233)
        The above has been happening for a while. Now it's a bit of a race to see if the NBA loving younger generation gets into power before the geriatrics running the place get hold of nukes.
        Iran is an interesting place politicially, more of an attempt to be benevolent but stifling "nanny state" than medieval, but most definitely a theocracy despite the bleatings of their loud idiot puppet president. Due to the vast majority of the population being young and control being currently in the hands of old men it's
    • We give them Internet connected devices. Then outsource our work to them. They become US. We become Them. This is why the Aliens gave us the technology in the first place.
  • Change that to "a repressive government". No need for the US, of all places, to single out Iran, unless of course, you're trying to sell a war.

  • A Welcome Move (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    As an Iranian I see this as a very positive development.

    The computing technology sanctions were doing exactly what the Iranian regime wants, that is to prevent average Iranian from uncontrolled access to information. They filter the web, ban VPN services, limit home Internet access to a maximum of 128Kbps. When people are already sanctioned by their own government, better not to add to that.

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "As an Iranian I see this as a very positive development."

      You'll get an iPhone while Apple gets all your money and will pay 2% taxes in Ireland.

    • As an Iranian I see this as a very positive development.

      The computing technology sanctions were doing exactly what the Iranian regime wants, that is to prevent average Iranian from uncontrolled access to information. They filter the web, ban VPN services, limit home Internet access to a maximum of 128Kbps. When people are already sanctioned by their own government, better not to add to that.

      One thing that I'd be more than a trifle concerned about is exactly which American tech outfits are lining up to do some exportin'...

      We certainly have some fine folks on Team Freedom; but we also have a massive list of spook shops and 'lawful intercept' outfits who are delightfully service oriented when it comes to assisting customers with achieving their compliance goals, so to speak...

      I'm all for Iranian citizens getting tor and PGP and friends; but I wish them luck when their government responds by inkin

      • This particular order seems to continue banning export of that stuff because it's all commercial-grade, and possibly also banned by the lists of specific things from some other laws or orders, which I didn't read but are not superseded by this one.
  • I don't see how this solves anything. If the users can have access to VPN/encryption to communicate, the government can now also buy network devices with advanced features such as Deep Packet Inspection or Lawful Interception or Man in the Middle - anything Next Generation Firewall can do, or dedicated devices can do better. Since they are the government they can easily push their own certificates so you wouldn't even know they do MitM unless you look very closely (not many people do).

    All of this is rather
    • by Anonymous Coward

      They already have those, as stated in another post. In fact, their MITM attacks are so sophisticated, certain attacks directed at specific targeted individuals have used certificates obtained (at considerable cost) via the compromise of certification authorities, if you recall - notably DigiNotar, although three others have been involved to date, one of which is widely-affiliated.

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        I was reading an opinion piece which I cannot find now, but they suggest that the reason is more or less to make throw away technology available to get around liabilities due to that kind of thing.

        I guess the underlying root of this is that Iran had an election a few years ago where smart phones and wifi relays were used by people to contest the elections and report on what they seen. Trying to flood the market with cheap as well as expensive technology will make the government's job of sniffing on these ac

  • by Invisible Now (525401) on Friday May 31, 2013 @11:19AM (#43873151)

    Particularly after what we did to Saddam's folks with IT equipment in the first Gulf War...

  • They're going to have to allow the export of high-grade encryption to Iranian customers. Otherwise they're just inviting the regime in Tehran to oppress anyone who tries to use this technology for the purposes specified in the OP...

    • by dbIII (701233)
      The high-grade encryption restriction stupidity did nothing other than push RSA offshore and prevent them from hiring US citizens for some tasks.
  • by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Friday May 31, 2013 @11:27AM (#43873261) Journal

    To: Cisco
    From: Iran
    Subject: OMG HELP!
    Body: Dear kind sirs of Cisco,
    My name is Barrister Allahu Akbahara Salami Mozambique. I am trying to install your router system here in order to oppress my population in the name of Allah. However, I have been trying to change the root password for your switch. Whenever I try to telnet into it, the welcome message says "America, Fuck Yeah!" and plays a strange intro song. At the same time, all of the webcams, printers, faxes, document scanners go completely haywire and my network traffic spikes.

    Also, I have a large inheritance that I believe is meant for you. Could you send me your bank account information so that I may deposit a sum of 89 billion rial ($18 US) into your account?

    Yours in kind regards,
    Barrister Allahu Akbahara Salami Mozambique

  • Stuxnet Part Deux and add potential eavesdropping capability?

    Hmmm... One would think the ability to insert more eavesdropping and spying capabilties ("hidden features? :>) ) may be more the reasoning behind something like this. Perhaps another bonus gift inserted into the software, hardware, or microcode, like Stuxnet [wikipedia.org] did?

  • They have a big bang for the buck: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahya_Ayyash [wikipedia.org]

    They would love to see high level Iranian officials using their products.

  • Please, just install it. No you can't examine the source code. Just run it. It'll be ok...

  • Just another USG subversion campaign. If you don't bend the knee to the USG-led globalist finance system, you are targeted. I wonder what color of Soros-funded "revolution" is coming soon to Iran?
  • by PPH (736903)

    That order of back doors has arrived.

  • Well, now it's OK to sell " hardware and software that pertain to the Internet...basically, all things digital" I guess the flights to Iran will be full of salesmen.
    Of course, big business will be taking care that the right stuff will not fall into the wrong hands, eh?
    After all, look what happened last time.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Contra_Affair#Indictments [wikipedia.org]
    Oh wait, looks like they all got a presidential pardon...

    Meanwhile, I'm sure that the regime in place will continue to control access to everyth

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