NIAC Urges Universities to Extend Admission Deadlines for Iranian Students amidst Internet Shutdown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, November 21, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x103 | mmostatabi@niacouncil.org 

Washington DC – President of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Jamal Abdi, issued the following statement urging universities to extend application deadlines for Iranian nationals in light of the extended Internet shutdown imposed by the Iranian government:

“We ask all university administrators to extend deadlines as necessary to accommodate Iranian nationals seeking admission in light of recent turmoil in Iran. As documented by both human rights organizations and tech companies, the Iranian government has responded to protests with a brutal crackdown and effectively shut down the internet for six days, at the time of publication. Such circumstances render it impossible for Iranian nationals to take standardized tests (reports indicate the administration of tests have been canceled), secure transcripts and send in application materials in advance of forthcoming deadlines. Moreover, there is little clarity as to when the Internet and other basic functions will be restored. Prospective Iranian students should not be further harmed as a result of the gross human rights violations perpetrated by the Iranian government, and we encourage all university administrators to extend all possible accommodations to them.

“NIAC staff stands willing to discuss the situation on the ground with any administrators in order to underscore the importance of extending application deadlines for prospective students.”

NIAC Petitions U.S. Treasury for General License Update to Support Iranians’ Access to Internet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, November 20, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x103 | mmostatabi@niacouncil.org 

Washington DC – As the Iranian government implements a near total shutdown of the internet in the midst of a crackdown against widespread protests, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) called on the U.S. Treasury Department to take necessary steps to ensure U.S. sanctions are not contributing to the Iranian government’s ability to disconnect Iranians. Iranian Americans have been unable to communicate with family members during the shutdown and the isolation of Iran due to certain sanctions has unfortunately contributed to the Iranian government’s ability to separate its population from the rest of the world. 

NIAC President Jamal Abdi issued the following statement further explaining the rule range request: 

“NIAC is petitioning the Treasury Department for a formal rule change request to expand General License D-1, which has not been updated in more than five years. Over the past several months, Apple, Amazon, Google and many other tech companies have begun blocking Iranians from accessing key software and services as a result of limitations and ambiguities in General License D-1 and escalating U.S. sanctions on Iran. 

“This has forced Iranian developers to rely on Iran’s state-operated internal Internet, which has aided the Iranian government in building this infrastructure and reduced the costs of cutting off outside connections. This also undermines Iranian developers’ ability to work with the global developer community and makes it far more difficult for ordinary Iranians to access and operate virtual private networks and other important communication tools that allow them to communicate freely in spite of government censorship.

“Unfortunately, while General License D-1 was a welcome step to reduce the consequences of sanctions on Internet communications when it was first implemented in 2014, it is in need of clarification and expansion. As indicated by tech companies blocking Iranians from accessing their services, the exemptions contained in General License D-1 have not kept up with the pace of technology or the increasingly complex sanctions regime.

“NIAC strongly supported General License D-1 and has advocated in support of measures to prevent censorship technology from being acquired by Iran’s government and to ensure Iranians have access to communication technology. The formal rule change request is included below, and we look forward to working for its timely adoption.”