Tuesday, December 04, 2007

US Sanctions against Academics

US Sanctions against Academics!

Last week I received several complaints from my Ph.D. students about the shutting down of my “Homestead” academic site which has been running more than a decade. The space for this Site was originally offered to alumni of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Tufts University by American based Homestead Company free of charge. The site was designed for graduate students enabling them to have access to academic resources, documents and materials required for their reading and research. It contained references to most of my books, monographs, papers and articles which proved to be useful to interested graduate students.

Upon checking the site, I found that it was in fact closed. First I suspected that the matter was due to censorship which is an ordinary occurrence here. But, it did not take long to realize that the issue was related to the United States sanctions against the Islamic regime in Iran.
Regretfully, as can be seen here, contrary to all US claims that American sanctions against Iran in no way affect academic centers and intellectual activities, the letter of apology from the “Homestead” below bears good witness to the contrary. *

If Homestead is just complying with US regulations and eventually other companies like Microsoft, Hotmail, Google, Yahoo, AOL, etc. follow the suit, this will cause extensive damage to ordinary people as well as academics in Iran.

Furthermore, this restriction will only benefit those hardliners who always wanted to limit access to the internet through filtering and other obstructive techniques.

This proves that the United States administration is not really honest in its various declarations and claims about the nature and direction of sanctions against Iran. Since, in effect, such sanctions benefit the incumbent regime in power to further isolate people from the international community.

As a professor Law and International Relations who has always maintained good relations with American colleagues, I strongly protest against this unfortunate action of US administration and sincerely expect the immediate termination of the sanction against Iranian academics and intellectuals./
A. A. Kazemi
December 4, 2007

* Homestead letter:

We're sorry, but your service is being cancelled
As a company based in the United States, Homestead Technologies is subject to the export control laws and regulations of the United States, particularly the Export Administration Regulations ("EAR"), and sanctions rules of the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Controls.
As part of Homestead's continued compliance with these laws and regulations, Homestead will no longer be able to offer services in the following countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, or to any resident or national of any of those countries, or to any person or entity listed on the "Entity List" or "Denied Persons List" maintained by the U.S. Department of Commerce, or the list of "Specifically Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons" maintained by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
We're very sorry, but because your account is originating from one of the countries listed above, Homestead can no longer continue your service. We had no choice but to terminate service to your account as of today, November 29, 2007.
We do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, and want to help you in any way we can. If you need any help, please contact our Compliance Team by sending an email to compliance@homesteadsupport.com.

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