Iran's Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi 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, Press TV wrote.
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 protests erupted across the country on November 15, after the price of petrol was raised by as much as 200 percent.
The internet slowly trickled back on in Iran on Friday after a days-long shutdown.
Since Thursday, the outage began to slightly lift. By Friday, internet connectivity stood at around 15% of normal levels, according to the monitoring group NetBlocks.
No respect for democratic values
Iran’s Foreign Ministry condemned the US move to impose sanctions on Azari Jahromi, saying the US does not honor democratic values
"It is clear to everyone that the current US administration does not cherish democratic values and principles, transparency and human rights, including free [access to the] internet for others," Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said on Saturday.
He added that a review of the US administration’s record shows that it has been exerting pressure on managers of major social networks and communication companies, such as Twitter, in order to silence the critics.
Such a policy reveals the White House's "political and instrumental" approach to free Internet access.