TEHRAN, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Foreign Ministry on Saturday condemned the U.S. fresh move to sanction the Iranian minister of information and communications technology (ICT).
The U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday announced sanctions on the Iranian Minister of ICT, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, over what he called Jahromi's alleged role in the "wide-scale Internet censorship" in Iran following recent wave of violence pertaining to the gas price hike in the country.
"We are sanctioning Iran's Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for restricting Internet access, including to popular messaging applications that help tens of millions of Iranians stay connected to each other and the outside world," Mnuchin said.
In a reaction, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Saturday that "It is clear to everyone that the current U.S. administration places no value on democratic principles and values, transparency and human rights, including free (access to the) Internet for others."
A review of the U.S. administration's record shows that directors of major social networks and communication companies, such as Twitter, have been pressured into silencing the critics, Mousavi said, adding that such a policy reveals Washington's "political and instrumental" approach to free Internet access.
The Iranian Supreme National Security Council has implemented a shutdown of Internet services in Iran since Monday following the outbreak of protests that turned violent in a number of Iranian cities.
Internet access has been gradually restored in the country since Friday night.