In English

Cronberg: New EU sanctions on Iran and Syria are morally important

25.4.2012

US President Obama authorized a new set of sanctions against the Syrian and Iran governments on 23 April. Obama's executive orders brought into force financial and travel restrictions against those who aid the Syrian and Iranian governments in using technology to oppress their own citizens. Among those first targeted were Datak Telecom, the Iranian Internet service provider, and Syriatel, the Syrian communications company. The aim of sanctions is to prevent the governments from acquiring and using technologies for monitoring and tracking citizens.

The restrictions were primarily aimed at entities based inside the two countries. However, American technology companies were consulted and that compliance would now be part of their standard due diligence in international contracts. Tarja Cronberg, MEP, Chair of the Delegation for relations with Iran in the European parliament, supports these new sanctions.

- Unlike the oil embargo, which has negative effects on ordinary Iranians, Obama's sanctions are well targeted and morally important. Many ICT companies have ruined their reputation by selling monitoring technologies to Syria and Iran where they were used to suppress the opposition. It is high time to stop this notorious business. Although this is only a start, I hope it will have consequences all over the world, Cronberg comments.

Last week the European parliament also adopted in its resolution a demand for the European Commission to come up with new rules by 2013 to improve the monitoring of EU exports of technology that can be used to monitor mobile communications and to censor or block websites. The parliament also wants more accountability for companies that sell to despotic regimes.


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