News / USA

US Condemns Jamming of 'Virtual Embassy Tehran'

The United States has condemned Iran's blockage of an interactive online "Virtual U.S. Embassy Tehran," less than 24 hours after it was officially launched in Washington.

In a statement Wednesday, the White House said that "through this action, the Iranian government has once again demonstrated its commitment to build an electronic curtain of surveillance and censorship around its people." The statement said "Tehran's systematic efforts to deny information to its citizens and to control what the Iranian people see and hear is doomed to fail in a 21st century when technology is empowering citizens around the globe."

The State Department launched the virtual diplomatic mission Tuesday, saying it is aimed at bridging the gap between Iranians and Americans that has existed since diplomatic relations were severed more than 30 years ago.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the unprecedented Internet project "a vehicle for the two peoples to communicate without fear." In her welcome video, Clinton also noted that thanks to the new technologies like the Web site, Iranians can find information about opportunities to study in America or obtain visas to come and visit.

Under-Secretary of State for political affairs Wendy Sherman said the online project is an effort to skirt the "electronic curtain" erected by Tehran to block Internet links between Iranians and the outside world.

The Iranian move came as representatives of five international broadcasters met in London to discuss the deliberate jamming of their broadcast signals in countries such as Iran that seek to prevent free access to information.

Voice of America joined the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Audiovisuel Exterieur de la France and Radio Netherlands Worldwide in signing a statement Wednesday, condemning the practices and calling for action to stop it.

In the statement, the five broadcasters say they have seen an escalation this year in the number of pressure tactics that have been used on the media accessed by audiences in Iran and other countries. They asked regulatory authorities to take action against those who deliberately cause interference to satellite signals on the grounds that this is contrary to international conventions.

Secretary Clinton announced the plans for the "Virtual U.S. Embassy Tehran" in an interview with VOA's Persian News Network in late October. Iran responded by saying the project will not succeed.

But U.S. officials expressed confidence that the new project will be popular, saying a State Department Persian Facebook page created earlier this year has already had about one million "hits."

Iranians are invited to contribute comments and criticism through links to State Department Twitter and Facebook accounts provided on the new website.

The U.S. virtual embassy web site is available in English at "Tehran.usembassy.gov" or "iran.usembassy.gov" and in Persian at "Persian.iran.usembassy.gov".

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More