New Bipartisan Measure Targets Companies Selling Sensitive Technology to the Government of Iran
Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA)
June 29, 2009, Washington, D.C. - On June 26th, Senators Charles Schumer
(D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced their plan to introduce legislation
which would place restrictions on companies that sell the Iranian government
sensitive electronic equipment that could be used to spy on their citizens.
Furthermore, both Senators called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to send
a letter to the European Union urging them to restrict the sale of certain
telecommunications equipment and services by European companies that could be
used to monitor and control the private communications of Iranian citizens by
the Iranian government.
The Senators' actions follow a June 22nd article published in the Wall Street
Journal which states that Nokia and Siemens provided the government of Iran with
technology capable of being used to monitor almost all Internet activities
within Iran. These capabilities include "deep packet inspection", in which
authorities can not only block communications, but also monitor it for
information gathering purposes. Critics have stated that the government of Iran
is using this technology to spy on its citizens, especially in the aftermath of
the disputed June 12th elections.
Senator Graham stated: "Companies that provide technology to the Iranian regime
to control the Internet must be forced to pay a heavy price. While strong
statements made in support of the Iranian people are critically important, it is
equally important to have strong action to aid their cause. Our legislation is a
constructive proposal that empowers the people of Iran and weakens the regime."
The proposed bill would require the White House to identify foreign companies
that export sensitive technology to the government of Iran and also maintain
contracts with the U.S. government. According to the measure, such companies
would then have to freeze their business with Iran before being able to apply
for, or renew, their contract with the U.S. government.
"It is utterly outrageous that Western companies sell equipment that allow the
Iranian government to spy on their citizens, prevent communications between
citizens and thwart any type of uprising against the regime," Senator Schumer
stated. "This legislation is going to crack down on these companies so that we
can do our part in preventing this regime from controlling the Iranian people."
Senators Graham and Schumer plan to introduce their proposed bill once Congress
reconvenes following its 4th of July break.
to read the official press release from Senator Schumer's office.
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