The Biden administration’s extension of general licensing allowing students in Iran impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to continue remote coursework is an important step. This license was originally enacted by the Trump administration following pressure from NIAC and academics who warned that students barred from entering the United States at the height of the pandemic would face irreparable harm given that sanctions would prevent them from continuing their studies remotely. Its extension is a welcome move, as no sanctions should stand in the way of education and academic exchange.
“While we welcome today’s news, it is an important reminder of the many hurdles facing Iranians seeking to pursue the American dream or just to access the worldwide web from their home countries. Visa processing has yet to fully recover from Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and the COVID-19 pandemic, with many families stuck in endless administrative processing and wondering when they can secure relief. Moreover, the people of Iran still encounter numerous obstacles online, including the Iranian government’s repression and online surveillance as well as sanctions that have forced many of the biggest tech companies and their ubiquitous tools out of Iran. They deserve better. It is vital for the Biden administration not just to cool geopolitical tensions, but to build greater people-to-people ties and connections between the people of Iran and the United States. We look forward to further engagement with the administration toward this end.Back to top