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Neoconservatives behind the propaganda film Iranium continue to mask their pro-war, pro-sanctions agenda as being somehow supportive of the people of Iran. The producers of the film, which has been criticized as “using the struggle of the Iranian people to push for their war-agenda,” recently released a clip arguing that Iranians need communications technology in order to foment a “new revolution” in Iran.
Problem is, the Iranium crowd and its supporters have worked ardently to expand sanctions and help ensure that Iranians cannot freely access this very technology. The clip in question tellingly links to a petition to “support the Iranian people” but which actually focuses on the Iranian nuclear issue and calls only for “stronger sanctions.” Some support.
Iranium, in fact, spends much time bemoaning the fact that ordinary Iranians are able to obtain limited consumer technology through the black market in spite of sanctions. In one of the film’s scenes, two young Iranian boys play a videogame system at shopping mall while former CIA Director James Woolsey argues that Iran sanctions should be “crippling” in order to cut off such goods. Accordingly, he says, only “food, pharmaceuticals, and bare necessities” should be allowed in Iran.
This might explain why Iranium ignores the fact that US sanctions make it illegal for even the most basic American software or technology to be available to ordinary Iranians, other than through the black market. Thankfully, due in part to efforts by NIAC following the June 2009 elections, the US Department of State recognized this counterproductive policy and issued an exemption from sanctions for free Internet communication software.
But despite this positive step, it still remains illegal to send most software, anti-filtering tools, modems, servers, and satellite dishes to Iranians without first getting a special US government license. In fact, it wasn’t until January 2011—over a year and a half after Iran’s post-election protests and nine months after State issued the sanctions exemption—that Google finally was able to make certain basic software like Google Chrome available in Iran after finally obtaining a US government license.
If the Iranium crowd actually wants to help, they would encourage that sanctions be reformed to not help the Iranian government stifle communication and to allow for software and technology to be freely available to Iranians. But this is not part of the pro-war agenda. Instead, they continue to argue for even more broad, untargeted sanctions while claiming to stand with the very Iranian people they are helping disconnect.
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Putting pro-people lipstick on a pro-war pig
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