Azari Jahromi, Mohammad Javad

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"The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action today against Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13846, for his role in the Iranian regime’s widescale internet censorship. Internet access in Iran, managed by Azari Jahromi’s ministry, was blocked for several days in November based upon what Iranian authorities describe as national security concerns in the wake of anti-regime protests throughout the country. The recent internet blocking follows similar patterns that occurred in 2017 and 2018. Azari Jahromi, who is a former employee of Iran’s notorious Ministry of Intelligence, has advanced the Iranian regime’s policy of repressive internet censorship since he took office in mid-2017 and has also been involved in surveillance against opposition activists... The internet and social media in general are heavily censored in Iran, and Azari Jahromi’s ministry has worked to block access to online censorship circumvention tools, also referred to as anti-filtering tools, such as virtual private networks. In his government roles, Azari Jahromi played a role in launching Iran’s National Information Network (NIN), which has enhanced the Iranian government’s ability to monitor, restrict, and completely block internet usage in Iran. Despite proclamations that he supports expanded internet access in Iran, Azari Jahromi has repeatedly justified the increasingly restrictive measures of his ministry as necessary to maintain national security, and further claimed that they are based on foreign threats to overthrow the regime. Azari Jahromi has also attributed internet disruptions in Iran to technical issues outside of the country, despite findings by outside experts that the disruptions originated from sources operating under the regulation of his ministry. A former member of Iran’s intelligence apparatus, Azari Jahromi was involved in surveillance operations during the state crackdown on peaceful protests in 2009, which significantly aided the authorities’ ability to identify, track, arrest, and imprison protesters. He has been the target of accusations that he personally interrogated multiple activists during this period." 1



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