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US-banned minister vows to block US bid to prohibit Iran development

Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi has dismissed US sanctions on him, saying he will not let Washington prohibit Tehran’s development.

On Friday, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control added Azari Jahromi to its sanctions list that would freeze any of his property under US jurisdiction and prohibit Americans from any dealings involving those assets.

It claimed that the Iranian minister had advanced a policy of “repressive internet censorship,” a reference to a nationwide internet shutdown during recent riots after the government decided to hike gasoline prices

In a post on his Twitter account on Friday, Azari Jahromi responded to the sanctions, saying the US had already targeted “ICT startups, Developers, Cancer patients and EB children.”

He also pledged to keep advocating access to the Internet and not let the US prohibit Iran’s development.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council ordered the internet shutdown last week after a group of “saboteurs” were found to be using online services like navigation and maps to coordinate riots in large cities.

The riots marked hooligans and thugs attacking security forces with firearms, knives and other lethal weapons, leaving several people dead.

They took advantage of peaceful protests against a government decision to hike petrol prices by 50%, wreaking havoc in several cities where public property was destroyed and banks and gas stations were torched.