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      Obama: 'Electronic Curtain' Has Fallen Over Iran

      Obama: despite sanctions, the U.S. is issuing new guidelines to make it easier to provide services to Iranian people.
      By Rachel Hirshfeld
      First Publish: 3/21/2012, 4:53 PM

      Barack Obama
      Barack Obama
      Reuters

      President Obama sent his greetings to the Iranian people celebrating the New Year of Nowruz, saying he hopes it will bring a season of “renewal.”

      “As people gather with their families, do good deeds, and welcome a new season, we’re also reminded of the common humanity that we share,” said the President. “There’s no reason for the Unites States and Iran to be divided from one another,” the President noted. “Here in the United States, Iranian Americans prosper and contribute greatly to our culture.” 

      “From Facebook to Twitter, from cell phones to the Internet, our people use the same tools to talk to one another and enrich our lives. Yet, increasingly the Iranian people are denied the basic freedom to access the information that they want. Instead, the Iranian government jams satellite signals to shut down television and radio broadcasts and censures the Internet to control what the Iranian people can see and say. The regime monitors computers and cell phones for the sole purpose of protecting its own power.  Technologies that should be empowering citizens are being used to repress them,” Obama affirmed. 

      He continued to assert that “an electronic curtain has fallen around Iran, a barrier that stops the free flow of information and ideas into the country and denies the rest of the world the benefit of interacting with the Iranian people, who have so much to offer. “

      The President noted that the White House has set up a “virtual embassy” to provide the Iranian people with the opportunity to see, for themselves, what the United States is saying and doing, explaining that they are using Farsi on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. 

      “Even as we’ve imposed sanctions on the Iranian government,” said Obama “my administrations is issuing new guidelines to make it easier for American businesses to provide software and services into Iran that will make it easier for the Iranian people to use the Internet.”

      The President continued to state that while the “United States will continue to draw attentions to the electronic curtain that is cutting the Iranian people off from the world and are hope that others will join us in advocating a basic freedom for the Iranian people- the freedom to connect with one another and with their fellow human beings.”

      “Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away,” he said.

      Obama affirmed that, the “Iranian people are the heirs to a great and ancient civilization. Like people everywhere, they have the universal right to think and speak for themselves. The Iranian government has a responsibility to respect these rights, just as it has a responsibility to meet its obligations with regard to its nuclear program.”

      The President said that if the Iranian regime peruses “a responsible path, it will be welcome, once more, among the community of nations and the Iranian people will have greater opportunities to prosper. “

      Obama reiterated his desire to foster “deeper connections” between the two nations. “A time when the electronic curtain that divides us is lifted and your voices are heard, a season in which mistrust and fear are overcome by mutual understanding and common hopes as human beings,” the President concluded.