NEW YORK--(United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) launched its World Wide Web campaign, and called on both the Internet Corporate for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE) to disconnect the Internet access of sanction-designated Iranian entities such as its Central Bank and its military’s engineering arm.)--On Tuesday,
“provides Internet resource allocations, registration services and coordination activities that support the operation of the Internet globally.”
ICANN, based in Los Angeles, and RIPE, based in Amsterdam, license and authorize sanction-designated Iranian entities to acquire Unique Internet Identifiers, such as “.ir” domain names. These entities, such as Iran’s nuclear brain trust, Malek Ashtar University, major Iranian banks, and Khatam al-Anbia, which serves as the IRGC’s engineering arm, have active web presences that they misuse to pursue Iran’s illegal nuclear weapons program, sponsor terror, and repress the Iranian people.
Sanctioned Iranian entities controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) further misuse their web access while censoring and denying Internet freedoms to the Iranian people.
UANI has presented ICANN and RIPE with a detailed analysis showing how ICANN and RIPE’s provision of internet access to the worst of Iran’s worst entities clearly violates U.S., EU and U.N. sanction laws.
In a letter sent this month to ICANN executives, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, wrote:
By this letter, United Against Nuclear Iran (“UANI”) calls upon the Internet Corporate for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) and its department for key coordination and protocol functions of ICANN – the Internet Assignment Numbers Authority (“IANA”) – to publicly clarify its work in Iran and to:
1. Terminate its relationship with and deny any Iranian entity or person that has been sanction-designated by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations access to and revoke previously assigned Domain Name System (“DNS”), Internet Protocol (“IP”) addresses, space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (“gTLD”) and country code (“ccTLD”) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions;
2. Terminate its relationship and deny ICANN/IANA access to all sanction-designated Iranian entities and persons, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (“IRGC”) and the Iranian regime, and;
3. Terminate its relationship and deny database services, technical services and information services to sanction-designated Iranian entities and persons and registrants that service sanction-designated Iranian entities and persons.
Unfortunately, ICANN/IANA and the Unique Internet Identifiers that it provides are misused by the sanction-designated Iranian entities and persons to facilitate their illicit operations, activities and communications including support for Iran’s rogue nuclear weapons program, Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism around the world, and the Iranian regimes brutal crackdown against its own people. Disturbingly, that crackdown includes the ruthless censorship of the Internet and other communication access, and the use of tracking technology to monitor, torture and kill freedom seeking dissidents.
Prominent sanction-designated Iranian entities have acquired .ir Unique Internet Identifiers from ICANN/IANA through the RIPE NCC. For example, Iran’s nuclear brain trust, Malek Ashtar University holds the http://www.mut.ac.ir/ address. Major Iranian banks, including the country’s central bank, maintain active websites (e.g. http://www.cbi.ir, http://www.bank-maskan.ir, http://www.bmi.ir and http://www.banksepah.ir). Further, Khatam al-Anbia, which serves as the IRGC’s engineering arm with over 812 subsidiaries and is heavily involved in the construction of the Qom/Fordow nuclear weapons facilities, holds the web address of http://www.khatam.com. These sanction-designated entities could not gain such web access without ICANN/IANA.
ICANN/IANA’s role in Iran with sanction-designated entities violates various sanctions laws including U.S. and EU law. Given that ICANN/IANA is headquartered in California, it is directly governed by the laws of the U.S. … The RIPE NCC is headquartered in Amsterdam and is directly governed by the laws of the EU.
Please understand that we do not seek this action lightly. We fully support internet freedoms and access to all parties. In this case, however, you are providing internet access to a brutal regime that represses its own people and censors and restricts their ability to dissent and publicly reveal the brutality of the Iranian regime.
In a separate letter to RIPE CEO Nigel Titley, Ambassador Wallace wrote:
RIPE NCC serves as the RIR for Iran, and its coverage extends to Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia and “provides Internet resource allocations, registration services and coordination activities that support the operation of the Internet globally.” Internet resource allocation is distributed in a hierarchical manner. This means that “IANA delegates large ranges of Internet number resources to the RIRs, which then allocate the resources within their regions to members, Local Internet Registries, National Internet Registries, and end-users”.
RIRs serve as the primary means for access to the worldwide web for Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”), telecommunication organizations and end-users within particular regions. Any person or entity within the area covered by the RIPE NCC – including Iran – that has registered for an Internet domain name, utilizes RIPE NCC’s services.