Seeking To Cut Iran's Nuclear Team Off Web

Tehran May Preempt Move by Blocking Access to Net

No to Iran: Activists take to streets of New York to call for stepped-up action to block Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
getty images
No to Iran: Activists take to streets of New York to call for stepped-up action to block Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

By Nathan Guttman

Published September 27, 2012, issue of October 05, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

A group of activists are leading a drive to ban Iranian companies involved in the country’s nuclear program from accessing the Internet — a move that would essentially cut them off from the global information network.

The activists, from a bipartisan group called United Against Nuclear Iran, have appealed to the international providers of Internet domains to deny sanctioned individuals and organizations the right to connect to the Web. Thus far, the companies have not been responsive.

But these attempts could prove superfluous, as Tehran itself has embarked on a move to shut off Internet access and revert to an internal Web that can be accessed only in Iran.

UANI has strong ties to the Jewish community and is supported by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The anti-Iran group’s co-founders include Dennis Ross, the former presidential Middle East adviser who is now co-chair of a think tank in Jerusalem sponsored by the Jewish Agency for Israel.

In two separate letters, dated September 7, UANI demanded that the two major suppliers of Internet domain names in the United States and in Europe immediately stop providing services to Iranian entities subject to sanctions by the U.S. Departments of State and Treasury, or by the European Union. The appeals were addressed to the Netherlands-based Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre, known as RIPE NCC, and to Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as ICANN/IANA and based in Los Angeles.

Mark Wallace, UANI’s CEO and a former United States ambassador to the United Nations, argued in the letters that the services provided by these companies “are misused by the sanction-designated Iranian entities and persons to facilitate their illicit operations, activities and communications, including support for Iran’s rogue nuclear weapons program, Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism around the world and the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown against its own people.” Copies of the letters were sent to the State Department and the Treasury, the two government agencies in charge of sanctions against Iran. The letters also noted that Iran has used its power to block Internet access to others in order to prevent opposition rallies and to monitor the activities of dissidents.

The move would target dozens of Iranian entities that currently have an Internet presence through the country and use the suffix of .ir. These include not just companies owned and operated directly by the Iranian government, but also entities such as Iranian banks now under sanctions as part of an international effort to block Tehran’s access to international trade.

Other websites that would be affected by the move include the Malek Ashtar University), which has been identified in the West as a leading source for training and educating experts for Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, and Khatam al-Anbiya, a construction company sanctioned by the Treasury Department for serving as an engineering arm for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.