Freedom House

Iran Bans Banks From Sending Statements To ‘Foreign’ E-Mail Addresses

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Many Iranians have complained of disruptions to Gmail and other “foreign” e-mail services in recent months.

May 08, 2012

Iran’s minister of communications and information technology, Reza Taghipour, has sent a letter to the head of the country’s Central Bank, Mahmud Bahmani, asking him to instruct banks to refrain from sending bank statements to e-mail addresses administered by foreign providers.
In his letter, Taghipour says that banned foreign e-mail providers include Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, and MSN.
The communications minister has called on banks to only accept national e-mail addresses from customers when they open accounts.
Taghipour has requested that banks provide access to the Internet for customers to be able to create national e-mail accounts at their premises.
The move appears to be aimed at forcing citizens to join the national e-mail system, which many Iranians have been reluctant to use.
Some Iranian websites have reported that the use of the national e-mail is obligatory for those working for the government and state institutions.

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Egypt raids foreign organizations’ offices in crackdown

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Three U.S. groups are among those raided. Activists say the army is using the ruse of foreign intervention to stoke nationalism and deflect criticism of abuses.

Egyptian security forces raid  nongovernmental organizations in Cairo.

Egyptian security forces raid a nongovernmental organization in Cairo on Dec. 29, 2011. Troops and police officers swept into offices, interrogated workers and seized computers in what was seen as a bid to intimidate international organizations. (Mohammed Asad, Associated Press / December 29, 2011)

By Jeffrey Fleishman and Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times December 29, 2011 2:56 p.m.

Egyptian security forces on Thursday raided the offices of 17 nongovernmental organizations, including three U.S.-based agencies, as part of a crackdown on foreign assistance that has drawn criticism from the West and threatened human rights groups and pro-democracy movements.

The move appeared to be part of a strategy to intimidate international organizations. The ruling military council has repeatedly blamed “foreign hands” for exploiting Egypt’s political and economic turmoil. But activists said the army was using the ruse of foreign intervention to stoke nationalism and deflect criticism of abuses.

The military’s actions angered Washington at a time the White House is pressuring Egypt to respect civil liberties. But the Egyptian military has been increasingly agitated by democracy advocates and protests that have gripped the nation. Clashes last week between demonstrators and soldiers ended in the deaths of at least 15 people. Read the rest of this entry »