WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — President Obama calls out Iran for its “electronic curtain” while announcing new guidelines for the U.S. to help make it easier for Iranians to access the Internet freely within the country.

In a video message to mark the Persian New Year Nowruz, Obama says Iran is making it increasingly harder for its people to “access the information that they want.”

“Because of the actions of the Iranian regime, an electronic curtain has fallen around Iran – a barrier that stops the free flow of information and ideas into the country, and denies the rest of the world the benefit of interacting with the Iranian people, who have so much to offer,” Obama said.

Obama called for other nations to help the Iranian people break from the restraints of its government.

“The United States will continue to draw attention to the electronic curtain that is cutting the Iranian people off from the world,” Obama said. “And we hope that others will join us in advancing a basic freedom for the Iranian people: the freedom to connect with one another, and with their fellow human beings.”

In an offer to help Iranians use the Internet more freely, the president outlined guidelines his administration put in place for U.S. businesses to assist them.

“And even as we’ve imposed sanctions on the Iranian government, today, my administration is issuing new guidelines to make it easier for American businesses to provide software and services into Iran that will make it easier for the Iranian people to use the Internet.”

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control amended the Iranian Transactions Regulations in this new initiative, which will allow the authorization of “the exportation to Iran of certain services and software incident to the exchange of personal communications over the Internet,” a press release stated. The U.S. has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since 1980.

Obama hopes this helps to open up the lines of communication between Iranians and Americans.

“I want the Iranian people to know that America seeks a dialogue to hear your views and understand your aspirations,” Obama said in the video message. “That’s why we set up a Virtual Embassy, so you can see for yourselves what the United States is saying and doing.” The president added that they will be using Farsi on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

This video message comes as tensions continue to rise in the Mideast between Israel and Iran. Israel has threatened military strikes against Iran for continuing ahead with its nuclear program. The White House is hoping for a diplomatic resolution between the two countries to resolve the problem.


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