US Sanctions Force Closure of Iranian Opposition Leader’s Website

Mehdi Karroubi's Internet Presence 'Violates' Sanctions

Long-time Iranian opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi just can’t catch a break.

The reformist candidate has been under house arrest in Iran since February of 2011, and with Iran’s new reform-minded government looking to pare back the harsh Internet restrictions of previous governments, he’s now lost his website.

That’s nothing to do with the Iranian government’s policy, but is rather a function of the US government’s sanctions on Iran, as Karroubi’s site was shut down by JustHost.com on grounds that it violates Treasury Department sanctions against Iran.

“What’s frustrating is that on one hand, our sites are filtered inside Iran and so Iranian companies are fearful of providing services to us, and on another hand we face the sanctions,” noted Karroubi aide Mohammad Ziya, who ran his website from inside the United States, adding “it’s like being caught in a pair of scissors.”

JustHost.com parent Endurance International defended the move, arguing that while US sanctions offer an exemption for personal websites, they forbid the hosting of websites for any other purposes. That apparently includes political dissent.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.