Washington, (EFE).- The United States this Friday authorized technology companies to expand their services in Iran in response to Internet cuts ordered by Tehran to stop protests against violence against women and the mandatory veil.

“With this measure, we are helping the Iranian people not to be isolated in the dark. This is a step to meaningfully support Iranians who demand respect for their fundamental rights,” Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said in a statement.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the UN Security Council in New York (NY, USA). EFE/Justin Lane

Specifically, the United States Treasury Department, which maintains tough sanctions against Iran, issued a general license under which “tech companies can offer Iranians more digital services, from access to the cloud to tools to improve their security and online privacy.”

Blinken: Iran is afraid of its people

The head of US diplomacy insisted that Iranian authorities cut off internet access for most of its 80 million citizens to “prevent them and the world from seeing their violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrations”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (c) and US Special Representative for Climate Action John Kerry (d) during the 77th United Nations Assembly in New York (NY, USA). EFE/Jason Szenes

“It’s clear that the Iranian government is afraid of its people,” said Blinken, who asserted that Friday’s blanket authorization would “expand the free flow of information” in the country.

In a subsequent telephone press conference, a senior US government official explained that expanding services to the cloud will facilitate access to VPN networks that bypass censorship and Internet blockages.

Restrictions on human-to-human communication services that technology companies had demanded from US authorities will also be removed.

Iran’s anger over Masha Amin’s death

The protests began last Friday after learning of the death of Masha Amin, 22, after she was arrested by morality police for wearing the veil incorrectly, and have spread across the country.

A detail of a woman holding a drawing of Mahsa Amin and a sign reading “We don’t want an Islamic Republic: Iranian women want freedom” during a rally in Berlin, Germany. EFE / Clemens Bilan

State television IRIB reported the death of 26 people in clashes with the authorities.

The government has severely restricted the internet, as mobile networks have been down from 9pm to morning for the last two days.

The United States on Thursday punished the morality police for the death of a young woman and seven senior security officials for suppressing protests.

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