Obama: 'An electronic curtain has fallen around Iran'
President Barack Obama sends greetings to Iranians celebrating Nowruz and uses the occasion to placate the Iranian government for its censorship of the Internet.
In a four-minute video posted on YouTube, president Barack Obama had only kind thoughts for Iranians, but again harsh words for their government. His message was delivered on the occasion of Nowruz
, the new year holiday in Iran and other parts of Asia and the Middle-East. “As people gather with their families, we are reminded of the common humanity that we share", he said, underlining the successes Iranian-Americans enjoy in the United States, and even going back on the Iranian production "A Separation", which "has won America's highest honour for a foreign film". He also reminded Iranians that the navies of both countries have fought against piracy and US sailors had recently saved the lives of Iranians taken hostages by pirates.
That's when the president used a one-liner that would help him get to the most serious part of his message. "From cell phones to Facebook to Twitter, our peoples use the same tools to enrich our lives". He then started to swing at the Iranian "regime".
"Increasingly, the Iranian people are denied the basic freedom to access the information that they want. Instead, the Iranian government jam satellite signals to shut down television and radio broadcasts. It censors the Internet
to control what the Iranian people can see and say. The regime monitors computers and cell phones for the sole purpose of protecting its own power."
Not shy of using words reminiscent of a certain political era, Obama delivered this: "Because of the actions of the Iranian regime, an electronic curtain has fallen around Iran".
In a surprising move, the US president also announced that, although more severe sanctions were being imposed on the Iranian government, his administration has issued new guidelines
"to make it easier for American businesses to provide software and services into Iran", so as to allow Iranians to use the Internet. The American administration has also created a "virtual embassy
" to help Iranians understand its policies, and it is using Farsi on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.