March 20, 2014

NIAC Applauds General License for U.S.-Iran Academic Exchanges

The President wished Iranians a happy new year, above, and Secretary of State Kerry sent a Norooz message announcing that educational exchanges are now exempt from sanctions.

Contact: Jamal Abdi
Phone: 202-386-6408
Email: [email protected]

Washington, DC – NIAC issued the following statement regarding the issuance of General License G by the Treasury Department in conjunction with the State Department:

NIAC strongly supports the Obama Administration’s decision this Norooz to exempt educational exchanges from sanctions. NIAC is pleased that ‘General License G‘ addresses key obstacles to building bridges between Iran and the U.S. Educational exchanges are immensely important in tearing down the barriers and rebuilding a long overdue friendship between Iranians and Americans.

In particular, NIAC is pleased to see that this license specifically exempts Massive Open Online Courses such as Coursera. In January, NIAC raised concerns that the online course provider Coursera had begun denying services to Iranians, citing sanctions. NIAC and others called on the U.S. government to take action to address this problem, and today that action has been taken.

NIAC has consistently advocated for the establishment of educational exchanges with Iran, including in helping advance the Stand With the Iranian People Act in 2009, and most recently making key recommendations in this regard in its report “Extending Hands and Unclenching Fists“. Today’s action will make those exchanges less cumbersome to facilitate and is a step in the right direction towards a stronger relationship and brighter future between the people of Iran and the U.S.

NIAC applauds those individuals in the Treasury Department, State Department, and White House working to minimize the damage of sanctions against ordinary Iranians and hopes that some day soon the situation between the two countries can be resolved so that the sanctions impacting ordinary Iranians can be lifted once and for all.


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