EghtesadOnline: A web hosting business in the Netherlands, Resello, has stopped offering services to Iranians. The company cites “sanctions by the international community” as the reason for the move.
Through an email, seen by Financial Tribune, the company said it has introduced automated checks of transactions and contact details which will sieve Iranian businesses and “flag” them.
The email reads “Starting July 18, resellers, customers, and contacts that are subject to policy restrictions cannot create new accounts.”
Furthermore, “from November 18, they cannot renew existing products or add funds to their account balance.”
According to Financial Tribune, this is while the company has been hosting large numbers of Iranian websites for almost four years. It does not say why it had a change of heart now or whether it was forced by the US to embrace the latest round of anti-Iran policy.
According to the company’s official website, due to “the legal jurisdiction applicable to the company” Resello is unable to support partners and clients from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and the Crimea region.
However, Resello’s sudden move is not unprecedented, and this will be the second exodus of Iranian websites.
In 2014 the American business Endurance International Group acquired an Indian webhosting service provider ResellerClub which used to host numerous Iran-based websites and services. Immediately after acquisition, ResellerClub announced that it is barred from offering services to Iranians.
According to General License D-1 published by United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control on Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, US-based entities are barred from offering web-hosting services that are for commercial endeavors or of domain name registration services to Iranians.
This is not the first time in this year that the US has imposed unilateral sanctions to disrupt Iran’s ICT sector. Last month Apple Inc. removed applications of several Iranian companies from the company’s iOS App Store.
On August 19 CEOs of several local businesses received an email from Apple, which read as follows:
“We are unable to include your app on the App Store. Under the US sanctions regulations, the App Store cannot host, distribute, or do business with apps or developers connected to certain US embargoed countries.”
The statement went on to say “This area of law is complex and constantly changing. If the existing restrictions shift, we encourage you to resubmit your app for inclusion on the App Store.”
The move was widely criticized. In a petition signed by “Iranian residents of the global village” local startup owners, app developers, and iPhone users requested the CEO of Apple Inc. Tim Cook not to remove the Iranian apps.
Started on August 24 on change.org, the petition has so far attracted 10,000 signatures.
The international sanctions imposed on the Iranian economy were eased last year as part of the nuclear deal (better known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA). The deal was signed between the government of President Hassan Rouhani and P5+1 (the US, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany) in 2015. In exchange, Iran agreed to limit the scope of its nuclear activities.
The sanctions were imposed by the OFAC, or by the international community under US pressure through the United Nations Security Council.
While the US government claims to be the champion of free speech, its unjustified sanctions have disrupted the free flow of information and routinely harmed private enterprise in Iran.