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GitHub is fully available in Iran (github.blog)
1727 points by todsacerdoti 12 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 483 comments

Nat's tweet in response to the other HN thread about a company getting locked out of their github because a developer opened their laptop in iran.


Pretty fast to get this posted...

Pure coincidence. We were working for two years to get this license.

I still can't access my company's org private repos (a company incorporated in Hong Kong, with only European employees) because I opened my laptop in a hotel in Iran 3 months ago.

It's taking us a day or so to remove all the restrictions. Email me if this isn't fixed today: nat@github.com.

Hey Nat, since you're on the line here, can I ask for more details about how this process might apply to other software forges? Were you able to secure a general exception for your line of business, or is it specific to GitHub? If the latter, how difficult/expensive was the process?

Great work, by the way. Kudos as well for committing to a DMCA abuse fund.

The license is specific to GitHub.

However, we don't want this to be a competitive advantage for GitHub; developers should choose GitHub because it is better, not because it has a license from OFAC. So we have taken it upon ourselves to advocate for OFAC to allow developers in Iran and other sanctioned countries greater access to all platforms, and we will continue to do so.

This kind of change would likely require an update to OFAC’s regulations, the issuance of an updated general license, or the issuance of formal guidance from the agency. We hope that OFAC’s issuance of a license to GitHub will help pave the way for broader access to similar platforms.

Are you concerned that the first time someone from Iran posts something controversial (eg. "Opensource Nuclear enrichment centrifuge control algorithm") that the license will be knee-jerk revoked with no notice?

Logically speaking, if someone shared such code from Iran, that would be the opposite of what the US government is concerned about. It would be import into the US instead of export.

Github might need to take down something like that from any developer regardless of country, because of other export laws, concerning nuclear technology. But I don't think that would result in punishment of the developer's country. But IANAL and the rules are complex.

If it is posted from Iran how can it be under US export laws?

Once it's on Github, if it leaves the country it's hosted in, that's export.

If it goes through US servers to anyone outside the country, serving it would be exporting it.

Yes, but re-export is covered under a separate regime. Intellectual property served royalty free does not have a correspondent item in internal processing and re-export regime.

Thanks for clarifying, and for working to open things up for all platforms, I really appreciate it.

Luckily, your code is open source so those in Iran can run their own instance locally.

I'm curious: what was the rationale for not talking about this at all until it was ready? It seems like "we're working on a possible solution" would have been a good response to the many complaints about this.

Was there some reason to believe that mentioning you were working towards this license would have a detrimental effect on the review process for that license?

Thanks for clarifying; the mention of "advocating" hadn't seemed connected to the idea of obtaining a "license".

Congratulations on prevailing here.

My guess is two reasons:

- Expectations settings. If they say they're working on a possible solution, people will expect the solution to materialize and get upset when it doesn't. Since this seems like it was a lobbying effort with OFAC, there was probably a large degree of uncertainty on whether this would happen at all.

- Like you suggested, maybe they thought any public comment about this might put at risk the conversations they were having with OFAC?

If they had been denied the licence then it’s potentially misleading. Generally you don’t comment on things if there is a very realistic chance they’re unachievable.

Why would it be misleading to say they are applying for a license?

Because this is the Internet and the angry mob often doesn't understand how the real world works, and the cognitive load of dealing with that angry mob when said things don't go the way they've naively imagined it _must_ is exhausting.

I'd imagine that later saying your license was denied would direct the internet mob in your favour, not against you.

That would work on the hypothesis that the internet mob is a rationale agent. That may not be so.

We can certainly agree to disagree! ;-)

I'm going to guess that the US government wouldn't have appreciated the external pressure going public about it would've added onto their review process.

as a software engineer, you have some* control over the scheduling and cadence of your features you develop.

You have no control over when you get a permit from the government like this. It's nuts. Even when the open source exception to ITAR was passed in the late 90s MIT was very careful not to release kerberos V outside the USA until they had very clear guarantees that it was approved.

Saying "we are applying for an OFAC license" will lead to a deluge of other tech companies applying for the same license, and the likely outcome is the OFAC says "we don't have the manpower to review all these, reject them all".

Thank you Nat. It is better that Github be fully available on other countries sanctioned by US like Syria, Venezuela, ...

I am from Iran. unfortunately, we are prisoners of mullahs like peoples of other countries sanctioned by US that are prisoners of their dictatorship governments.

Github is fully available in Venezuela though. The US sanctions are mostly against the government in our case (I'm Venezuelan).

I probably started too many stinks on the Microsoft yammer page related to this. Thanks for finally getting it done.

Thank you for everyone's hard work in bringing open source to everyone.

You have my respect regardless.

Thank you.

They were taking their sweet time processing the application until today.

Speaking of fast responses, your response time on these comments is incredible!

Took nearly a week to respond to the original tweet (https://nitter.net/sebslomski/status/1344219609923276801), but not much more than an hour to respond to the quoting tweet from an account with an order of magnitude more followers (Edit: it looks like it depends on how you count “response”: https://nitter.net/GitHubHelp/status/1346250095700946956#m was 18 hours ago, https://nitter.net/sebslomski/status/1346467442428530691#m was 3).

First, American holidays does screw up customer service that in some instances it knocks out the very service (a la Slack). Second, despite posting a FAQ from the US treasury department that apparently excludes this case, the posters have missed the point that it only applies to financial services. Software is much more regulated (the silver lining is that cryptography is no longer munitions-class export fortunately) than most commenters think and that behind-the-scenes negotiations tends to happen especially with regards to cryptography.

Well then: lucky coincidence.

> We want every developer to be able to collaborate on GitHub, and we are working with the US government to secure similar licenses for developers in Crimea and Syria as well.

I'm very interested in hearing about the experience of HN people from these regions in terms of open source collabs. Since Github has such a large presence, what are you all using instead?

Access to public repositories was not blocked, so those who wanted to work with open source projects were unaffected. For a while after the GitHub block, many used GitLab. In fact many people who needed private repositories were already using GitLab because of the limitations of GitHub private repositories and its pricing. Also many companies in Iran are using a self-hosted GitLab. After recent blocking of Iranian accounts on GitHub and GitLab, even more companies started using self-hosted GitLab.

The blocking of GitHub accounts was unexpected and presumably took into account the usage history, so many accounts were blocked and had no further access to their private repositories and gists even if they used VPN after that.

GitLab was blocked in Iran after they migrated to GCP, but was accessible with VPN. A few month ago GitLab also started blocking some Iranian accounts, so our company moved all of its repositories to a self-hosted instance just to be safe.

Are there any obstacles to creating a github clone for Iran, outside of a viable business model? All these ghettoes of company private gitlabs are of no use to an Iranian software industry. Arguably it is even detrimental to Iran's national security.

Speaking of which [the industry], wtf? I left Tehran in 79, and I must tell you, AmirAli, that I fully expected Iran to be a software powerhouse by now (if not earlier), given the national propensities and talents, and the lack of an artificially imposed barrier to starting up an industrial/technical sector, and fairly open access to technical literature. Can you shed light on this?

Talented people are found everywhere around the world, and many are in Iran for sure. But what exactly made you expect a theocracy becoming a software powerhouse?

Theocracy doesn't necessarily have something to do with being a software powerhouse.

> In fact many people who needed private repositories were already using GitLab because of the limitations of GitHub private repositories and its pricing.

Today I learned how similar to Iranians I am.

> many accounts were blocked and had no further access to their private repositories and gists even if they used VPN after that.

Can’t access with VPN? How?

> Can’t access with VPN? How?

Your account is unable to access _any_ private repository after being flagged as being from a sanctioned country. That's regardless of where you're actually accessing your account from.

While you could create a new account, you still couldn't grant that new account access (since you can no longer access private repositories from your primary account). Also a new account still runs the risk of getting flagged if you accidentally access the account without a VPN enabled just once.

Oh, I see. Well that’s super lame. This requires a great deal of cooperation on Microsoft’s part.

Most people in Syria use VPN anyway because most of the tech tools are blocked, that includes everything hosted on GCP (including GitLab), Android docs, Bitbucket, SEO tools, not to mention cloud providers, just to name a few.

Actually the next day after GitHub ban, I rolled out a GitLab instance on my server and opened it for free access and published it in Syrian devs groups, but it barely had a dozen active users after 6 months, and all from one company not individual contributors, so I had to turn it off.

What I can say from my experience and how we as Syrians look at open source contributions is that we see it as our ticket to get a better chance in leaving Syria to a good job that allows us to start a new life. It's not something we do as a hobby or for fun in our spare time, because we don't really have spare time.

Btw, it's quite common to have Syrians working on projects for US and Europe and avoid sanctions by VPN and registering their business in Dubai. I know a Syrian company that is a GitHub and AWS partner.

GitHub still allows public repo access even in sanctioned locations like Syria and Crimea.

> Crimea

Why would Crimea be sanctioned? It was annexed.

That's like sanctioning the citizens of Iraq for the 2003 US invasion and occupation...


ctrl + f "Crimea", there's some interesting information there. It lists specific companies and explains why.

edit: This is a specific example: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm889

yes, it’s stupid and such sanctions led to more anti-west/us and more pro-russia sentiment in Crimea.

Source: have relatives there

Which parts of the Crimean sanctions are normal people most upset about?

The ones I'm seeing on the Treasury page target specific individuals and companies. And they're coordinated with Canada and other countries, and the EU.

The termination of processing in Crimea by Visa and MasterCard was actually a big deal. It came out of nowhere. One morning ATMs and terminals in shops just stopped working and everybody was left with maybe some cash and a bunch of useless cards. It was not a joke. I was making trips to the nearest working ATM in Russia with like 15 credit cads of our friends and relatives with scribbled pin-codes - a 6-7 hour drive one way, often only to find that we need to drive further to find a not yet emptied ATM. And then returning with a bag of cash.

And then the same winter Ukraine cut electricity and water supply. I remember doing homework with kids by a candle light, wearing warm jackets inside because heating didn't work. Fun times. I don't know how this all was supposed to turn people of Crimea back to Ukraine and who thought it was a good idea. I think it worked the opposite way and turned a lot of locals into supporters of the annexation.

Anyway, I'd say the most upsetting result of the sanctions is almost total absence of large international and Russian business in Crimea. It makes everything very expensive. It's like an additional tax on everything. For example, no large Russian bank has a local branch. There are only few small local banks and as a result it is really hard to get a business loan or mortgage, and the rates are bad. There are almost no stores of big food chains, and it means the food is more expensive than in mainland Russia; there are no McDonalds, no Burger King or Starbucks; you cannot receive an international delivery and you have to pay to one of the many proxy services that re-send packages if you want to receive a package from Amazon; no international flights which means you always need to buy a flight to Moscow first; etc.

Looks like your real problem is that the new overlords actually give a shit about the people. They don't invest in anything unless it is strategically valuable infrastructure.

Well, almost. The problem is that _nobody_ gives a shit about the people. The old overlords demonstrated how much they care by cutting off the power and water supply. The new overlords are not interested in taking more risks to continue what they started. The international community has a very little clue about anything, a strong opinion about everything, and not enough time and attention to give shit about the people.

But this GitHub announcement gives a hope that someone somewhere gives a shit about the problems of real people and that the sanctions will eventually end one way or another.

Why no Russian businesses? I can understand blaming the West and Ukraine for their boycotts, but how come Russia gets a pass for screwing you over as well?

Yeah, Russia is getting a lot of criticism for this from locals, but nothing changes. The reason is that any large russian business is an international business. They are either a publicly trading company, or have a headquarter in Europe, or partially owned by an international company. For them getting sanctioned would mean multi-millions losses, losing investors, suppliers, and much more. Even the largest state-owned Russian bank cannot afford to open a branch in Crimea because (as they have publicly commented) this will result in mass loss of their investors and will crash their stock price.

After annexation, a number of sanctions were put in place against Crimea as a whole. Visa and MasterCard stopped processing payments, eBay and Amazon stopped shipping, Upwork blocked freelancers with Crimean addresses. Some of the sanctions were lifted months to years later, but I am wondering how this must have made the average citizen of the annexed region feel in meantime.

the freelancers and devs were the ones: (a) most independent from the government (derived their livelihood not from state) and (b) most liberal-minded and friendly to the West.

Now, because of sanctions, they can only work for Russian government and companies.

They can also move to the part of Ukraine not under the occupation.

Trying to pretend it's business as usual is supporting the occupation.

For most of us this is not option for personal reasons. Old parents who will not move, kids going to school here, etc. Not to mention that I don't have any relatives or friends in Ukraine and moving there would require to cut all personal and business relationships.

Speaking of freelancers as others did, basically they all went through acquaintances or shell companies in Russia in order to receive funds from the West. Which doesn't sound like what the US wanted, to me.

Except that Iraqis were not forced to take US citizenship. They are still, and will be, citizens of Iraq.

I think it's still possible to hold Ukrainian citizenship in Russia-occupied Crimea, but your life will be thoroughly miserable.

Presumably, they want to keep the pressure on Russia. I don't know why we would sanction Crimea rather than all Russian-held territory, though.

Because Crimea isn't part of Russia for the US and much of the world.

IIRC, Russia provides gas to Europe.

No, it wasn't. It's under occupation.

same thing for Syria.


Crimea was part of Russia for 100s of years and never had much to do with Ukrainian nationalism. When the Soviet Union was established Crimea was part of the Russia Republic.

It was only a power play by Khrushchev to move Crimea into the Ukrainian Republic, since that was his primary base of power.

Since during the collapse of the Soviet Union, the power broke down along the lines of the established Republics Crimea just defaulted into Ukraine even while in terms of infrastructure, population and military port it was Russian.

It was certainty a terrible way how Russia forced the change in the boundary but the people there real had nothing to do with it and shouldn't be punished.

It was a part of Russian Empire and later USSR. Many territories including Ukraine were part of it. The modern Russia is just a part of old countries' land which don't include Crimea.

> Probably because an overwhelming majority of the Crimeans wanted to belong to Russia

If you're referring to the vote held in 2014, it was boycotted by supporters of Ukraine (because the vote itself was unconstitutional under the Ukranian constitution).

No I'm not, then I would have said 95%...

When the Great Firewall started blocking Github, there was a post on Reddit (iirc) saying Chinese devs basically had to abandon the profession and switch to other work—supposedly because so much development these days depends on libraries and frameworks that are on Github.

Though, I recently learned that Taobao has a publicly-available mirror of npm packages.

However, I'm also noticing more and more popular repositories with Chinese language, in the past couple of years—they gather plenty of stars presumably just due to the population size (can't judge them on merit). I guess the GFW block was lifted and Github is popular for publishing software even for consumption in China.

Github being fully blocked never lasted more than a few days I believe. Nevertheless I imagine a lot of Chinese also use Gitee or the like. If a library or something like that is a really common dependency i'd imagine it would have a copy on such places.

Gists and other subdomains are still blocked, but the APEX is available.

This is one of those cases where ECH would really make sense: the censor is forced to choose whether to pass TLS connections to an IP or not.

VPN with kill switch on all devices and an address in mainland Russia in github profile. I know quite a few people who live in Crimea and do contract work for US companies, who are not disclosing their actual location to their employers.

I'm just guessing, but probably a VPN.

I'm in a first-world nation and I still have to use a VPN to access parts of the Internet like georestricted content on Netflix and YouTube...

I don't think anyone would have expected this today, but good job GitHub.

I honestly think that they're trying their hardest to keep it open for everyone - they can't ignore U.S. law as an organization of their scale, regardless of their views on issues like this and DMCA.

Nat also stays constantly in the public eye and really makes it seem like he cares - which is what a modern CEO should do, in my opinion.

I'm not in the legal loop, but would it be beneficial to move to a different country or region? For example, the EU comes to mind. Would also give me peace of mind regarding my data.

It wouldn't help with sanctions. As I said in the blog:

The US has long imposed broad sanctions on multiple countries, including Iran. These sanctions prohibit any US company from doing business with anyone in a sanctioned country. (These sanctions can also apply to non-US companies whose activities directly or indirectly involve the US, including merely having payments that flow through US banks or payment mechanisms like Visa.)

I'm surprised Iran doesn't block Github. There's plenty of political content on Github - it makes a half-decent blogging platform for the technically inclined.

You're right about censorship. However most Iranians have a VPN installed on their phone and rarely gets trouble for doing so and speak freely but anonymously. Iran gov is actually a democratie quite more liberal than most western people think. Yes, there is censorship, unfair courts cases, corruption, and repression. Still we can see this in most of the countries, often in harden terms. Should we speak about Assange ?


Don't give them ideas! Also, I haven't seen a lot of political stuff related to Iran on Github.

Give it time? Github was previously doing the "censorship" of Iranians... now that it's available I expect we'll see more of this kind of thing:


Github was available to Iranian up until two years ago. The general public is not that familiar with github (just like the rest of the world). But it is very likely that if the government feel like it, they just go ahead and censor it.

Examples? I've never come across anything heavily political, aside from maybe "free software" advocacy, which I assume isn't something most governments find particularly threatening.

Not Iranian but a very famous repo is the 996 repo https://github.com/996icu/996.ICU (>250k stars) which advocates for Chinese Developers working a 996 schedule. Depending on where you look you can find a lot of political content on Github from all over the world.

To be clear, he means "advocates for" in the sense that you have an advocate who is an ally.

One could interpret this as "this repo support 996" which is the opposite of reality, without that context.

Some examples can be found in their public record: https://github.com/github/gov-takedowns

If TOR and I2P are a thing in Iran, they block github if they like but people will find a way to access it.

Seems like Nat Friedman is proving to be an excellent CEO for GitHub.

Especially with the youtube-dl incident.

Nat deserves praise for his leadership.

As a Syrian I'm delighted to see Syria mentioned specifically.

I started my career doing iOS development while in Syria and had to jump through hoops and loops so I can submit my apps to the App Store. I had to open accounts in Lebanon, use VPNs to log in to the connect portal and one point even being on the VPN wouldn't work.

I think more companies need to follow suit here, there are a lot of independent developers in these countries that would benefit from this.

Just in time, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25644056

And any frivolity aside, well done to github, both for this and also with their developer defense fund against take downs. Whether you like them or not, these are very positive outcomes for devs.

They are probably trying to put out the fire started by that tweet. So not really in time.

Edit: apparently this was a coincidence

The press release says they've been working on this for a couple of years. It was not an overnight change.

Yep, it seems that the person you're replying to doesn't know that it usually takes longer to grant such licenses, GitHub got really lucky here (or the US have thinked about the prestige of having GitHub there).

Securing an embargo exemption is probably not something you do as a quick workaround to an issue making the rounds on social media.

I have an anecdote about Iranian internet access: years ago (2006 maybe) Google came out with a way to determine the top search terms by country. For the US and most countries it was what you would expect: porn, sports, movie and music stars.

Now for Iran it was control theory, FPGA design, chemical engineering, etc.. I suspect only weapons designers had internet access. Maybe universities, but no porn? Not likely..

So Google trends no longer shows porn or Iran.

Your vision of Iranians not having internet access in that era is very misinformed, I’m afraid. Young Iranians already made heavy use of the web in the early millennium, though often through VPNs (which, as the other poster mentions, would have masked their actual country).

As soon as Goodreads was launched in 2007, it swiftly attracted an enormous number of Iranian university students: they are one of the most active demographics on the site and they review all kinds of books since (with lax copyright laws and high literacy) translation of foreign literature flourishes in Iran. Does that sound like a people bereft of web access?

> Young Iranians already made heavy use of the web in the early millennium

They were are/are prolific Iranian hacking groups too. I had the misfortune of having my small site defaced (in a drive-by) and Googled a string from the usual shout-out and found a lot of matches on similarly defaced sites. I counted that as evidence towards a robust Iranian underground hacking scene. This was way before APT & state-level actors were in the public consciousness.

Once someone uses "bereft" casually and correctly in conversation, I decide their opinion is probably the correct one.

Well done sir.

As an Iranian who watched a lot of porn back home, it is not true. In 2006 it was limited speed though, and censored, so if I watched porn, I would have to be on VPN or proxy.

The cause: Iran has free government run universities, so education is a big thing here. Go to Stanford EE department, you would be surprised by seeing that many Iranians.

Probably because Porn in blocked in Iran. So Iranian first connect to Tor or a VPN which makes their IP western.

Probably it's because porn is blocked and the average Iranian would search in Persian and not English, so possibly Google trends didn't have the Persian terms.

I gotta say Github seems to me to be using Microsoft's deep pockets for good. Not every company could afford to work on this like that.

And yet they make a point to also take ICE's money as well.

They donate 2.5x the licensing fee from ICE to "nonprofit organizations working to support immigrant communities targeted by the current administration".

They also mention that "While ICE does manage immigration law enforcement, ... they are also on the front lines of fighting human trafficking [and] child exploitation" and that "GitHub has no visibility into how this software is being used, other than presumably for software development and version control."

If gh were to revoke their licenses, they would probably (a) just switch to gitlab or something similar, (b) be harming the anti-trafficking and anti-child exploitation efforts just as much as their anti immigration, and (c) not have an incentive to donate all this money to support groups.


I think the "anti-trafficking and anti-child exploitation efforts" stuff is MOSTLY bullshit cover words for other oppressive shit that harms victims and the most vulnerable.

But I personally agree with your thrust. i donate non-trivial amounts of MY money to organizations that support immigrant (including undocumented) communities, as well as my time, as well as participating in campaigns to eg get universities to not accept contracts to train ICE and CBP.

But I'm still not personally inclined to boycott github over relatively small ICE contracts. I assume almost any company is going to have contracts with entities I consider immoral. That's just living in society. You have to pick your battles, and to me this one isn't it, although I respect those who want to make it such. Doing software development without interacting with any companies who have contracts with entities I consider immoral is probably impossible. I personally consider any contract with US DoD equally indefensible morally, and it's just not realistic to avoid business with companies with DoD contracts. But I assume I could find such contracts among github competitors too.

I/my employer currently only use free github though.

Although if I worked for a company, I'd be trying to figure out how to advocate internally to get them to stop -- avoiding working for a company with DoD contracts has been part of my own personal career choices.

I assume Apple, Google, and Amazon definitely have contracts with morally indefensible entities, especially government agencies, including ICE/CBP/DHS -- I still use AWS, and most of y'all do too right? If people boycotting github over ICE contracts are not boycotting AWS, have you thought about why or why not? I'm not assuming you can't have a good reason, just curious if you've thought about it and what it is. i don't totally understand why github has become the posterboy for this, when they seem pretty typical and probably far from worst, when compared with say AWS.

While the company I work for uses github, we don't pay for it; we DO pay for AWS, which also has ICE contracts...

The phrasing "While ICE does manage immigration law enforcement" seems to suggest that enforcing immigration law is a bad thing.

Exactly what about managing immigration law is something worth rallying against?

(a) good

(b) that's quite a stretch. there are organizations who fight human trafficking without putting children in cages

(c) you cannot offset working with the morally reprehensible as if you're adding carbon to the atmosphere

You can't offset human lives as if they were carbon emissions.

Human sacrifices never stopped.

Nowadays they're disguised under the euphemism "collateral damage"[1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collateral_damage#Internationa...

I really, really, would like us to stop considering blocking access to legal organizations because of political views.

Can you imagine your license of Microsoft Windows being de-activated because of a social justice campaign?

The consideration is whether or not to boycott their software in response. Whether or not Microsoft decides to provide services to ICE is still up to them.

That sounds great, but it's a very fragile state of things.

While it certainly makes lives of Iranian developers easier, it does not make it a good idea to put their code there: laws change, and quickly sometimes.

Laws change and there are also a bunch of other ways to get banned from your code on GH. And once that happens, you have nowhere to go.

Much easier to migrate to a Gitlab instance. And they know this! Which is why it's so fun to see Github dancing around these issues lately. Finally some healthy competition.

I'd love to know how many times MS have tried to buy Gitlab. :D


Can you please not post in the flamewar style to HN? We're trying for something else here.


You seem to forget about Issues, Milestones, Projects, Wiki docs and more.

Probably a naive question, but is there some way for all these elements to held in a git repo as well? Just move all your issues/trackers to another platform?

There are some approaches, e.g. https://github.com/dspinellis/git-issue

But I don't think there's much standardization around this type of git usage, and I'm not sure how efficient it would be for large repos.

It can probably be done but some projects have thousands of issues, thousands of PRs with dozens of comments in every thread.

It doesn't seem like a good idea to make your git repo store all that data.

and users. GH, GL, BB are kind of dev social netwoks. Project assets can be archivised/mirrored easily with tools or API scripts, but there is no way to link them back to live users. Community needs to be rebuild at new place and thay is lot of effort.

On the other hand, hopefully the more contact Iranians have with the outside world, the more they will petition their government for peaceful relations with other countries. Obviously GitHub access isn't going to make the difference, but rather lots of these kinds of things in aggregate.

You make a good point, I'm surprised to see it downvoted.

It's always a risk to put IP in a bucket you may lose access to just because of politics.

Git is a distributed system, so even if you lose access there isn't a huge data loss.

Unfortunately, github is 50% git, 50% proprietary code that you don't control and can't neatly export your data for other platforms. All these git hosts are walled Gardens. It's a sad state of affairs but not really limited to git (Gmail walled Garden despite email standard, messaging apps, etc).

Github has some great management tools for reviewing code and integrating with various integrations. But so does Gitlab, Bitbucket... and I'm sure there are more. They aren't 1 for 1 replacements, but they do exist. I'd personally recommend against using a ton of integrations that tightly bound you to any service.

Yes, they all have great tools on top of git, but they are all different and hard to transfer between platforms.

Yes, making daily on-premise backups would mitigate the risk of losing source code.

That applies to everyone, not just Iranian developers: setup daily backups of all your code.

Even more than that, as long as one person has the repo cloned you can bootstrap the entire project again, any single clone has the entire project history to the most recent point it was fetched. Git is neat that way.

That's not necessarily true. If your organization has tens of repositories with multiple important branches in each, all odds that at least some of those branches are lost.

Proper backups of all repos are an answer, of course.

The way we use git, master has everything that is production with short-lived feature branches for development work. Not needing to worry about git backups is perhaps the least of the benefits of this approach (and no real drawbacks as far as I can tell).

That’s true if you use it the way its creator does, but not so much when you replace git send-mail with GitHub’s proprietary extensions (issues, etc).

Thankfully git is a distributed VCS. You just push the latest version somewhere else.

Yes, as answered in another branch, it's possible and reasonable to setup continuous / daily backups, if you're using a hosted Git service (Github or not). This will mitigate the risk of losing access to the code.

It's not advised for these Iranian developers to use any Github-specific features, such as issues, wiki, CI, because losing them will cause disruption / knowledge loss.

And then the reason to use Github specifically, instead of something else is quite low.

You don’t understand - there is no need to setup backups. Every user has a full “backup” of the repository (unless using sparse checkouts or other niche configs).

It really depends on how small or large your organization is.

If it's a single repo with a single branch, sure. No need for explicit backups.

If it's tens of repos with multiple important branches in each, then it would be very dangerous to assume that developer machines have all of them.

This is true for the source control aspects of Git, but not all of the project management aspects of GitHub. (wikis, gists, gh-pages: yes. issues, pull requests: no)

Does Iran not have it's own version of online git service after such a long time? I imagine it's not too difficult to set a barebone git hosting service up (without the hub functions, obviously).

I suspect to get the same level of availability and trust folks have in github 100% inside Iran using local hosting providers / infrastructure is actually a bit difficult.

I think it's kinda hard to compete with the big boys with limited resources / footprint even whit / perhaps because of sanctions.

Right? Unless someone was actively squashing sites down, it doesn't take much attach a CRUD to a directory of folders for git repos.

This is awesome, thank you!

It says it's a two year effort. It's a great length for a company to go for, specially when they could very much default to what other companies are doing and simply block access.

As someone who comes from an underprivileged country, and just paid extra to renew a visa just because I come from an underprivileged country, I can see at least part of the daily trouble that we have nothing to do, apart from being born in the "wrong country".

This is a very wholesome news and made my day.

Thank you Github. We truly appreciate it. I hope one day US will return to JCPOA, and our government can build on it new deals.

This goes to show you that even though you might have "technical" solutions to control, e.g. decentralization, eventually policy control will win if your government is motivated enough.

Take cryptocurrency for example. Yes it's decentralized and the government can't seize from the blockchain. Instead, all they have to do is ask "Do you have crypto?" and you answer truthfully or perjure yourself or risk worse consequences.

Your government doesn't need control over your technology. They have control over you. Technical and policy changes must go hand in hand. You can't use one to solve the other.

decentralization means that a foreign government can't steal my bitcoin, not that my own government can't.

That’s huge! Thank you, GitHub!

Seriously, well done GitHub! There aren't many big companies that follow through to do the right thing. Great stuff.

They lobbied the government to give them a singular exemption to a law that interfered with their revenue generation. They didn't help anyone else doing software business with Iranians. This is monopolistic behavior -- a company using its market-dominating power to carve out special rights for itself.

I mean they could have just not spent any time on it and moved on. I agree that it’s stupid government thing they have to deal with, but at least they did something and hopefully the government will fix its ways.

As the GitLab CEO I want to congratulate Nat and GitHub in obtaining this license. This is great news for the people of Iran, GitHub, open source, and the software industry. Thank you. I imagine obtaining this license took a consistent effort from the company. GitHub and in particular Nat truly care about open source.

As an Iranian interested in opensource and free software, I thank you for Gitlab. It is devastating that this was a thing to begin with. But I'm happy that at least we can pull/push again! Happy coding. Edit: I misread the OP. But the message is still the same, thank you for Gitlab.

>I thank you for this

Just in case you misread. He is the CEO of GitLab.

I did misread it. To be honest, I thank him a lot more! Gitlab rules!

Sid, when can we expect the same thing happen at GitLab?

PS: I'm trailing the comments and it is very interesting to see how this post is turned into a competition about GitLab vs. GitHub vs. BitBucket. But fellas, this is not about tech, it's about the people who use it. In particular about a thriving community of talented and young developers who have been ignored, sanctioned, and betrayed over and over both domestically and internationally.

GitLab is looking into whether we may be able to obtain a similar license.

PS: I agree this post should be about GitHub and what they achieved for the thriving community of developers in Iran who are making things work despite their circumstances.

Speaking of Nat (and semi-related to this post), I noticed that when he did the reddit AMA just before Microsoft took control the only highly rated question that went unanswered related to censorship in China.


Now that you guys have had some time to formulate policy do you have any comment?

We have a really excellent policy regarding government takedowns: https://docs.github.com/en/free-pro-team@latest/github/site-...

Among other things, the policy requires that governments that want content removed from GitHub issue a lawful request to us, which we then push to a public repo: https://github.com/github/gov-takedowns

So you are able to see all of the government takedown requests that we have processed, there. You'll notice that there are only 3 directories in that repo: Russia, China, and Spain. When we do (reluctantly) take down content at the request of a government, we try to limit the takedown only to viewers in the country that made the request, rather than doing a global takedown.

After what happened to Ma who would criticize the CCP? He has everything to lose.

Nobody knows what happened to Jack Ma, it was all speculation based on a single source.

The latest news says he is just laying low, but that of course doesn’t make for a good story.


Or Daryl Morey in the NBA. As a fan I've noticed it's really quiet there about China across the league.

This is the kind of activism that I do see valuable form GH. Where there are actual costs and not just catering to a small minority.

I just wish US stopped acting as if it owns the entire damn planet.

And I just wish Iran would stop enriching uranium.

GitHub isn't required to work from the US and can choose any other country.

Send the codes baby. Iran shouldn't be deprived of world technological development because the US is an ass.

I wonder what this means for sanctions/US GOV action.

"Oh, we need to know all the programmers that reside in Iran."

"Let's look at github!"

Or Maybe it's as insidious as hoping some state orgs\Iran based enterprises would use github actively to host and commit code into their infrastructure.

It reminds me when I first became aware of how social media companies allow "terrorist" pages up - while there is some chance of recruitment, the intelligence gathered from metadata, who browses, time of engagement and such is much, much more valuable.

Super curious, and interesting, how "nice/good" gestures can be all part of a game.

> began a lengthy and intensive process of advocating for broad and open access to GitHub in sanctioned countries.

> Over the course of two years, we were able to demonstrate how developer use of GitHub advances human progress, international communication, and the enduring US foreign policy of promoting free speech and the free flow of information.

What about orgnanizations and individuals working to hpromote the free flow of information, but aren't on the top-5 market cap coporations? Are they also exempt from sanctions?

Probably they said to the US government. "What's the point of blocking iranian developers if we can look into their code?"

The cynic in me also thought this right away. Github is an American company, subject to American data request orders. Iran would be better off not using github for private repos.

Absolutely. The state department only relaxes a "maximum pressure" regime if they think there's some way to spy or sabotage their stated enemies. However, this could still be a good thing for the Iranian people if for no other reason that they can download free and open source software.

I think downloaded public repos were never blocked.

Honestly, technical reasons should be put forward why a block plainly isn't possible. It is also a disadvantage compared to anonymous internet usage in general. I am sure many Iranians used Github just fine.

Establish the the network doesn't support sanctions like this and diplomatic channels will find other venues. But free net accessibility only helps against regimes like we can find in Iran anyway.

Reading the article, I was honestly surprised that the restrictions were only put in place in 2019 - I distinctly remember some introductory training when joining a US company years ago, which mentioned basically what I understood as: "any business with Iran is forbidden". Anyone has a clue why it wasn't an issue for GitHub earlier?

Seems that some functionalities, such as private repositories, are still not available to the Iranian users: https://twitter.com/yashar_rashedi/status/134660380380674867...

It seems that they are currently dismantling the restrictions for the already-affected users (since that the licence is specifically only for Iran, not other embargoed countries like Syria). Probably they can submit a request that points out to the post to expedite this.

(Now the next challenge is how to get GitHub paid services. As I understand they can now have full services - except that probably no payment processor that handles Iran.)

Right on all counts.

All this will lead to is Iran developing guided missile software written in Rust. These missiles will thus have no known countermeasures.

Some sense from the govt agency for a change, it is not as if the IRGC hosts their missile and nuclear programs on Github.

Congrats. This is the kind of news I love to hear especially about 'free flow of information'.

Well this seems pretty timely.

"We were working for two years to get this license." https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25648849

Twitter is becoming the outsourced helpdesk of those poor, shoddy transnational corporations. Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc are too poor and incompetent to run a helpdesk that could actually help anybody, but Twitter can. They should raise a fee from those companies for their services.

That's an awesome achievement. Sanctions should be imposed on governments, particular corporations and specific individuals. Not on all the people who are only guilty in being unfortunate enough to be born in a particular country or have a reason to visit it.

That's a potent verisimilitude. The people of Iran pay taxes which funds their government. The people employed in government positions in Iran, are Iranians. The government of authoritarian regimes and even democratic governments has its hand in all sectors through tariffs, taxes, and regulations.

Of course citizens shouldn't suffer the pangs of incompetent, lazy, or evil governments. That's why virtuous imperialism was a thing.

But aside from sounding good, how do you suppose these government sanctions should be instituted in order to be effective?

> The people of Iran pay taxes which funds their government.

Can they stop? Hardly. As soon as one stops paying taxes and gets caught he is officially a criminal. No he can't even emigrate because foreign countries won't give him a visa: you usually are required to provide a certificate of having no criminal records at your home country to the embassy when you apply and they don't take "I just didn't want to support our wicked government" as an excuse.

Exactly. It's extremely unfortunate that the dependency is so circular.

Why is it advancing? Isnt it just giving what rightfully theirs?

We've taken the press release flair out of the title above.

Announced only 4 hours after responding to https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25644056? That can't be a coincidence.

I don't think GitHub successfully convinced OFAC to allow them to offer services in Iran in the intervening four hours between then and now.

Probably not. But the timing is strange to me

If there's anything to the timing, I think it's on the OFAC side, not the GitHub side. I doubt the OFAC would fast track this just because of a Twitter controversy, though, so it's probably just a coincidence.


If the current military gulf presence escalates to armed conflict having software open to the Iranian population keeps communication tools available until the internet gets cut.

My guess would be that they probably got it a little while back and kind of forgot about it, but this brought it back on everyone's radar and was an easy win.

+1 respect for the community and github

Github still blocked in Crimea?

This is fantastic positive news and I think it will surprise many people (including me) that this was achieved with the involvement of a huge mainstream corporation (Microsoft) under the Trump administration. Congratulations Github.

but still not in china


Github situation aside, as an Iranian (living in the US) I would like to use the opportunity to raise some awareness regarding Iranian sanctions by the US government.

The US sanctions are part of a "maximum pressure" campaign on the Iranian government. The US government has banned the rest of the world from dealing with Iran. Therefore, Iran has no exports anymore.

As a result, Iran's currency lost it's value ~10 times in the past decade (When the original sanctions where started by the Obama administration).

The goal of the sanctions are to make people of Iran so miserable that they would go in streets and start a revolution. Now, Iranian people hate the Islamic Republic and would get rid of them if they could. But the Islamic Republic has no limits. They would shoot and kill and many as it takes.

Another challenge for Iranian people and a revolution, except for Islamic regime's cruelty is an unknown future. Iran shares a lot of border with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iran also has many terrorist groups activated inside it already. That means there are real fears of Isis/Taliban/Other groups rushing to Iran if the central government is weakened.

So people are scared of Islamic Republic, and also scare of what can come next.

Therefore, basically, Maximum Pressure campaign's goal is to make people so miserable, they'd rather face bullets/wars.

This has lead to some really devastating results. Middle class doesn't exist anymore. Some rural cities are reporting that people cannot pay for bread anymore. Most people cannot pay for chicken/meat anymore. Add Covid 19 to this, and a very incompetent and cruel government which has been rendered completely useless by the sanctions, and you get a complete disaster on your hand.

The government is also quite scared, and to make sure there wont be uprisings, is spreading fear. They execute people and hand cruel sentences to everyone. Last weeks they gave a 10 years sentence to an 18 years makeup artist who had a famous Instagram account. Journalists are executed, etc. People's morale are completely shattered.

So the bottom line is, the maximum pressure campaign has rendered Iranian people completely miserable. Even if it were to succeed wit topping Islamic Republic, there is no guarantee that it wont make Iran another Syria situation. Please, as a U.S. voter, I urge you to consider your support for stopping the sanctions.

The sanctions are meant to put pressure on Iran to stop development of nuclear weapons. A regime change is not a likely consequence of sanctions, it's much more likely that the Iranian government looks at the economic toll of it's choice to pursue nuclear weapons development and decides to change course. Without a doubt these sanctions cause much misery - the bulk of it inflicted on everyday people who are not decision makers in the country. But allowing a country that regularly threatens to wipe other countries off the map to develop nuclear weapons stands to create orders of magnitude more misery than economic sanctions.

I personally full supported Obama's sanctions on Iran. They had a purpose (Stop Iran's nuclear program) that made sense and was achievable.

And they achieved it. All European countries and united nations and Obama administration confirmed that Iran was committed to the nuclear deal.Even current and former Israel generals wrote letters to show support for Obama's deal with Iran which stopped Iranian nuclear program.

What the current administration wants is much much more than nuclear concerns [0]. They are basically telling the Islamic Republic to shoot itself in the head. Or face sanctions.

Of course they pick sanctions.

[0] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/5/21/mike-pompeo-speech-...

Can you elaborate on how this amounts to telling Iran to "shoot itself in the head"? The 12 demands as per your article are:

> Declare to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear programme and permanently and verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity.

> Stop enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing, including closing its heavy water reactor.

> Provide the IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the entire country.

> End its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further launching or development of nuclear-capable missile systems.

> Release all US citizens as well as citizens of US partners and allies.

> End support to Middle East “terrorist” groups, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

> Respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and permit the disarming, demobilisation and reintegration of Shia militias.

> End its military support for the Houthi rebels and work towards a peaceful, political settlement in Yemen.

> Withdraw all forces under Iran’s command throughout the entirety of Syria.

> End support for the Taliban and other “terrorists” in Afghanistan and the region and cease harbouring senior al-Qaeda leaders.

> End the Islamic Revolutionary Guard corps-linked Quds Force’s support for “terrorists” and “militant” partners around the world.

> End its threatening behaviour against its neighbours, many of whom are US allies, including its threats to destroy Israel and its firing of missiles at Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and threats to international shipping and destructive cyberattacks.

This really amounts to 3 things:

1. Stop pursuing nuclear weapons development, and actually give inspectors the ability to verify that Iran is staying true to it's word.

2. Stop supporting terrorist organizations, and other proxy wars.

3. Stop threatening to destroy Saudi Arabia, Israel, and other countries.

Sure, demanding the release of US citizens is superfluous and unnecessary. But how does this amount to telling Iran to "shoot itself in the head"? How would fulfilling these 12 points kill Iran? How does Iran somehow end up dying if it stops fighting proxy wars in Yemen and Iraq?

How do you stop sanctions if you already follow the demands put in front of you? The reason the world isn't on the US side against Iran wholly as it were in the beginning of the sanctions is that Iran did live up to the demands.... and then the demands were changed. The US broke the deal, not the Iranians.

You stop the sanctions by meeting the new demands. The US decided the original deal did not offer inspectors enough leeway to ensure Iran was actually halting nuclear weapons development, and so it added more stringent inspection requirements. Adopting or walking away from a deal is a mutual decision. Yes, the US decided to put new terms on the deal. Iran could have accepted adding real enforcement mechanisms to the deal and ended the sanctions, but decided otherwise.

This thread is being rate limited. The commenter below is incorrect. The post deal demands included restrictions on nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, too, but they also included changes to increase the access of inspectors. This was a substantial part of why the original deal was rejected, the new administration believed the original restricted inspectors to the extent that Iran could still develop nuclear weapons in secrecy.

The existing deal already has enforcement mechanisms under Article 37. If Iran violates the deal, the UNSC sanctions are reinstated by the P5+1. If the P5+1 violate the deal, Iran scales back its own commitments. All of this is in the existing treaty.

And there is no guarantee that meeting the new demands would result in sanctions stopping, rather than in more sanctions and demands.

United States' post-deal demands were not nuclear. They were regarding Iran's missile program.

The sanctions are not to prevent nuclear development, the Israelis are not stupid and they know Iran can develop it sanctions or not, it will be dealt with a cold war strategies as it always was.

The sanctions are to weaken its non nuclear aspirations, their push to create an Iranian crescent from Iran to Lebanon making many people life miserable on the way, people who don't want them in the region.

It's a country that clearly state their will to destroy Israel and their militias in Lebanon actively attacked Israel even though there is no border conflict there right now and the two countries could set up a peace agreement easily. But it is not only the Israelis that don't want them there, the majority Sunni and Christians in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq also not happy with the Iranian push, hence the joy everybody had when Trump killed Sulemeini.

Obama was an idiot who bought into the meme of "preventing nuclear", he didn't understand the middle east at all and during his time the middle east was in flames with millions of deaths and refugees. He didn't support the demonstrations in Iran when they happened, just stood there looking like a the lame useless president that he was with his useless speeches.

Trump brought quiet and peace and he did it with almost no cost of life, just by having a knack to dealing with crazy leaders of the region which is more aligned with his natural craziness and line of thinking, and with a bit of Kushner brilliance behind the scenes.

I just hope Biden is not as stupid as Obama and will keep the pressure on Iran, got a feeling he is a bit more experienced and realist so I am hopeful he will understand what's going on.

The problem is the cost of the deal is too high and the benefit too low.

The Iran deal is actually rather simple in concept. Iran temporarily suspends certain nuclear activities (not all of them - for example, researching enrichment is fine). In return, Iran gets an economic boost and a permit to do whatever it wants, like supporting terrorists or mass murdering Syrians or trying to destroy Israel.

The latter part may surprise you, but it's obvious when one thinks about it. What is the West allowed to do when Iran commits those things? It's not economic sanctions, since removing sanctions and then placing them on again for different reasons would leave Iran no reason to comply with the nuclear deal. And of course, war is undesireable (the entire point of the deal was to avoid war). So Iran can do whatever, and if the West does anything serious, well, nukes.

The rest of the ME isn't going to meekly submit to Iran. Worse, Iran can't finance its holdings (Iran requires weak governments in order to hold Iraq and Lebanon, but that means no investments). That means things get done in the ME way, which already leads to mass amounts of refugees.

Iran's involvement in Syria directly led to Brexit (Leave would have lost without an immigration crisis on) and played a key role in Trump getting elected (Is it a surprise the most anti-immigration R candidate won the primary given that background? Didn't Trump end up hiring Cambridge Analytica, which would have never happened absent Brexit?). If it weren't for the deal, maybe the US would have done something about Syria and we'd have avoided all that. If Iranian destablization of ME restarts under Biden, the result may well be Trump mk2.

I do not believe this is an acceptable price for temporary restrictions.

> Iran's involvement in Syria directly led to Brexit

It's appalling how you (even partially(?)) blame Iran for Brexit. The US decided to support Syrian rebels (of whom mostly turned out to become or move to ISIS). Syria is a secular state, whether you like to believe this or not. The Russians and Iranians were legitimately asked by its officials to help support the Syrian army to tackle the terrorists. Yet, the US and its allies financed/armed so called rebels that made a disaster of the country. Remember McCain's visits and photographs back in 2011? Why is the US even STILL there?! I can not think of a single country in the ME that turned out to become better after the US started meddling in its elections/government - ironically, including the one which you are currently blaming.

Blame the incompetence of Brexit on the people who advocated for it and who like to ignore/dismiss facts.

Assad runs a mass-scale torture state. Iran supported Assad from the beginning, without it he wouldn't have survived to 2015. The result of Assad's butchery is a mass displacement of Syrians, ergo refugee crisis, ergo Leave victory in Brexit referendum.

If the US was ever serious about not letting Assad and Iran get away with it all that wouldn't have happened, and there wouldn't have been Brexit. The US's decision to not get involved against Assad (they're there for ISIS I remind you) had a far worse result in human lives and geopolitical impact than any of the US's 'meddling'.

> The US's decision to not get involved against Assad (they're there for ISIS I remind you)

So is Iran? Mind you: the weapons these rebels aka ISIS had were mostly/directly provided by the US and its allies! No official from Syria asked the US to be there! Imagine if Iran would deploy troops tomorrow in Washington to endorse groups to tackle the existing government. The real danger is supporting regimes that endorse Salafist/Wahabist Islam, which the West likes to do. This hypocrisy of the West is fascinating. I think that could have somehow played a role in Brexit...

Iran supported Assad since before ISIS existed. In fact their operations were almost all directed against the rebels but never against ISIS.

Iran supports Assad for a link with Lebanon and threatening Israel, and if a lot of Sunnis are forced by Assad to migrate, well, that's more like a bonus for them, since it destablizes the West.

The goal of US foreign policy is world domination. The sanctions on Iran may well contribute to that goal. However, from the point of view of what's good for mankind generally I'm not sure it wouldn't be a good thing for Iran to have nuclear weapons. It would discourage other countries from attacking Iran and it would also give other countries an incentive not to destabilise Iran. There would, of course, be some obvious disadvantages - so it's not an easy (hypothetical) decision - but Iran would probably be a safer and better custodian of nuclear weapons than at least one other country that already has them so I certainly don't think it would be a terribly bad thing for Iran to join the club.

>The goal of US foreign policy is world domination.

US is a global superpower and they are the creators of the modern global order of free trade and democracy (it isn't a coincidence that there has been meteoric rise in the number of democracies since WW2, and end of Cold War). If that's 'world domination' then OK. But to be clear, if it wasn't them, another global superpower would fill the vacuum. In the 20th century, that would have been the Soviets. In the 21st, it may be China. Is that better?

The goal of US foreign policy is defense in depth via diplomacy and alliances, which hasn't significantly changed in the past 100 years.


When has that worked? The same countries have been sanctioned over and over without successfully alleviating tense relations.

Why would a government who doesn't care about its population look at the suffering of those people and change course? Are we naive enough to believe that the Iranian elite aren't circumventing these sanctions personally?

Finally, why? Like, after hundreds of years of imperialism and political interference, I've yet to hear a compelling case to continue doing these things given they've done nothing but push us further away from each other and closer to a climate-crisis, dystopian nightmare.

We need cooperation not blackmail.

South Africa, among others, have had large changes in direction prompted through sanctions. Cuba has also gradually allowed more economic freedom over the past decade.

I agree, cooperation is what is needed not blackmail. That's what the sanctions are doing: if Iran wants to cooperate economically with other countries, it needs to stop trying to blackmail other countries with threats of nuclear strikes.

As far as why, Iran regularly threatens to wipe other Middle Eastern countries off the map - including the nuclear armed Israel, which would easily trigger a nuclear war in the middle east. The simple reality is that there is not an equivalency between the possession of nuclear weapons by China, Russia, NATO, versus North Korea and Iran. The former don't go around threatening to wipe other countries off the map on a regular basis. Nor does Israel, they don't even officially acknowledge nuclear capacities. The latter do, and in North Korea's case it has created one of the most infamous geopolitical catastrophes of the 20th century. And Iran stands to become a much larger North Korea in a much more volatile part of the world.

Israel does go around bombing things in other countries.

A couple strikes per month [1] in response to Syrian missile batteries shooting down Israeli planes is not particularly comparable with threatening to wipe a country off the map. Most of these aren't even direct attacks, Iranians are killed in the crossfire because they're supporting proxy fighters in Syria.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Israel_conflict_d...

You cannot seriously not add attacks on Palestinians. It would be a country too if it weren't occupied and crushed completely. More and more acknowledge this every year.

Then there's all the hits on people by Mossad.

As do China, Russia, and NATO. Why single out Israel?

America does not pay for China and Russia's bombs, at the very least; but something tells me you already knew that.

America bombed the crap out of many countries throughout history. I mean wtf was Vietnam all about? Iraq didn't look that good either.

Cool, yeah, more bad stuff. Doesn't cancel out what I was talking about at all - this is just a standard "whataboutism". I'd like to see an end to all bombing everywhere. It's easier as a Canadian to hold this perspective, of course; I don't have to condone or defend the past evils of America at all.

Whataboutism has its merit in this instance. If the U.S wants to show its moral superioriry it needs to actually try becoming morally superior. Which I am not sure it is. Otherwise it reeks of hypocrisy and people rightly suspects most Americans do not care about China's morals at all but about losing their hegemony to China. So its easy to become a cynic when seeing these debates.

So the issue is not the people suffering, but rather who's paying. Got it.

There was a deal, it was working, and the US (well, Trump) unilaterally broke out of it (as usual). Your lame excuses really are disgusting.

This is misleading at best.

Every country that has the ability to enrich uranium is 99% of the way there towards developing nuclear weapons.

Iran feels threatened. Countries that have felt threatened (North Korea, India, Pakistan, Israel) have developed nuclear weapons.

The sanctions are there as a deterrent to Iran having a Nuclear weapons program.

Anyone who thinks it is possible for a country to have Nuclear power but not nuclear weapons is a fool.

Honest question, if the sanctions are causing misery and the people basically have to choose between death and poverty, will it not just cause more resentment? Wouldn't the people eventually become so angry at the Western World that they support Nuclear proliferation for, at best, defense/power and, at worst, revenge?

I personally full supported Obama's sanctions on Iran. They had a purpose (Stop Iran's nuclear program) that made sense and was achievable.

And they achieved it. All European countries and united nations and Obama administration confirmed that Iran was committed to the nuclear deal.Even current and former Israel generals wrote letters to show support for Obama's deal with Iran which stopped Iranian nuclear program.

What the current administration wants is much much more than that [0]. They are basically telling the Islamic Republic to shoot itself in the head. Or face sanctions.

Of course they pick sanctions.

[0] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/5/21/mike-pompeo-speech-...

In 1963 JFK told Ben-Gurion that Israel developing nuclear weapons would lead to other countries in the region also pursuing nuclear weapons. Israel did it anyway, JFK's prediction obviously came true, and now America is saddled with Israel's problems; trying to stop Iran from doing what Israel did, because Israel did it. The sanctions are decades late and aimed at the wrong country.


I think it was Einstein, Openheimer and others who told the U.S that there will be a nuclear arms race, way WAY before Israel acquired nukes. Let's keep up the blame game though.

> Countries that have felt threatened ([...] Israel) have developed nuclear weapons.

What evidence is there for this? At the time, Israel claimed that Egypt was trying to develop a nuclear bomb. However in his 1963 letter to Ben-Gurion, JFK says that American intelligence agencies had found no evidence of this and believed Egypt did not have facilities capable of it (unlike Israel.) To ny knowledge, in the decades since then, evidence of the alleged Egyptian bomb program has never surfaced.

> "I can well appreciate your concern for developments in the UAR. But I see no present or imminent nuclear threat to Israel from there. I am assured that our intelligence on this question is good and that the Egyptians do not presently have any installation comparable to Dimona, nor any facilities potentially capable of nuclear weapons production. But, of course, if you have information that would support a contrary conclusion, I should like to receive it from you through Ambassador Barbour. We have the capacity to check it."

-JFK, 1963


? Israel was invaded and nearly overrun several times, by many of it's neighbours, with a combined population 30x it's own.

It's neighbours continued to make public proclamations that they wanted to 'wipe it out'.

If that is not 'threatening' then what is?

Iran, in contrast, faces no real existential threat. Not Russia, Turkey. Saudis couldn't really if they wanted to. Iraq is weak and they control most of it.

Israel was the first country in the middle east to acquire nuclear weapons. The UAR did not have nuclear weapons and wasn't developing them (despite Israel's unsubstantiated claims to the contrary), nor did Israel need nuclear weapons to defend itself (Ben-Gurion admitted that in 1963 to JFK.) And even if they weren't capable of defending themselves with conventional arms, the JFK administration offered to ensure the protection of Israel in exchange for inspections of Dimona to stop Israel's bomb program. Israel turned this offer down, and refused inspections of Dimona.

Israel did not need an atomic bomb. In developing nuclear weapons (in cooperation with the white supremacist state of South Africa, it should be noted) Israel ensured that other middle east countries would eventually seek them. They deliberately threw water onto an oil fire.

'David Ben-Gurion: Message to US President Kennedy Regarding UAR Threats' (https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/ben-gurion-message-to-u...)

> 2. Israel is not helpless: in a test of strength it can defeat all three but it is not eager for such a victory.

> 3. Israel finds it difficult to believe that the United States and the civilized world would acquiesce in such an attempt at "liberation".

In other words, Ben-Gurion admitted Israel could protect itself alone if needed, but doubted it would even need to.

Israel is a small country without allies (it didn't then) which was invaded a few times by much bigger nations around it, some of whom, to this day, want to destroy it.

Of all non-superpower nations, Israel's quest for Nukes is probably the most rational.

They have zero will or capability to wage any material war of conquest (beyond East Bank/Golan), there is zero chance that they could feasibly use those weapons to 'invade' Jordan, Syria, Saudi etc.. They couldn't hope to occupy any such territory. Ergo - they can only materially be used for defence. Besides - anything else and the entire world (including the US) would turn on them.

Israel's nukes has not caused others to seek nukes really - that's far flung. Iran is not threatened in any way by Israel.

Ironically - the opposite is true: Iran's nukes will destabilize the entire region and cause major problems. Saudi has access to nuke tech from Pakistan, and if Iran ever for a moment brandishes such a weapon, they will magically appear in Saudi very quickly.

Other players are likely to be able to overcome the geopolitical pressure to avoid them, but the fact is 'they would want to have them'.

Nobody is afraid of Israel, but almost everyone around Iran is afraid of Iran.

The 'conflict' in the ME is no longer Israel vs. Egypt an everyone else, now, it's Iran vs. Saudi and everyone else.

> Israel is a small country without allies (it didn't then)

This just isn't true, America was offering to ensure their safety and Israel believed that if they were attacked, America and other first world countries would come to their defense. They acquired nuclear weapons anyway. This is all spelled out in the correspondence you can read here: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/john-f-kennedy-administ...

What's more, those documents reveal the Israeli government was exaggerating the military competence and ability of the UAR in PR campaigns directed at the Israeli and American publics.

Many countries have nuclear power plants without having weapons program, Turkey, South Africa, Japan, Many Eastern-Bloc countries.

correction/clarification: Apartheid South Africa not only had a nuclear weapons program (in cooperation with Israel) - they had nuclear weapons.

South Africa hastily dismantled its nuclear weapons program ahead of majority rule - becoming the only country to voluntarily give up nuclear weapons. Though it still stocks the weapons-grade nuclear material in storage.

Canada has nuclear power, but I'm pretty sure Canada doesn't have nuclear weapons.

Canada is a part of NATO, and NATO militaries have strategies for the sharing of nuclear weapons. In the past nuclear weapons were stored in Canada.

Developing a nuclear bomb isn't the same as developing an actually useful nuclear weapon: you still have to develop a rocket to deliver it somewhere else than your test site.

The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not use rockets or missiles. I think a bomber aircraft would work just fine.

Iran is not threatened, there is nobody that could invade them except the United States, and that would be unthinkable.

Iran wants nuclear weapons to swing a heavier stick and threaten it's neighbours.

As an Iranian living in Iran, I think you must educate yourself and do actual researches to find causes of things that happened between Iran and the U.S.

Sanctions to produce "maximum pressure" as you said is still against human rights but oh well guess how UN thinks about that. Putting citizens in misery is not how you treat a government, specially an Iranian one. You are just going against basic human rights, like not being able to import medicines or basic needs of people.

The only miserable person here is you, someone who claims to be Iranian and yet thinks giving access to private repositories on a platform is against his beliefs, let alone the way you talk about Iranian people also makes you disrespectful human being.

Your hatred against the government has nothing to do with Iranian people, so please, think twice before you post anything on the internet again, if you can't handle a simple thing like this, aka human rights, then you must have issues on giving opinions on other topics as well.

Off-topic: seems like you're one of those iranis who escaped the country for whatever the situation you were in and now you've got the tongue to speak out, so you start attacking on normal citizens because YOU think that YOU are better than them, there's just too many of you, you're not the only one.

Nice to hear from a Real Iranian instead of an American pretending.

Do you think that every Iranian has the same political position? Emigrées tend to be self-selected towards being critical of the(ir) circumstances in the home-country, and even if they were not critical originally, experiencing a different way of life has a way of questioning if your previous experiences were the best approach. Even Americans who have lived abroad exhibit this.

I see no reason to believe that US sanctions on Iran are intended to cause a revolt by the Iranian people. AFAIK, the US has imposed sanctions on numerous countries since WWII and not in a single instance has it lead to a revolution in America's favour.

Another possibility is that the US simply wants to isolate its geopolitical enemies and impoverish them. As it has been doing with Cuba since Batista was overthrown.

I'm not convinced US foreign policy were rational, but a possible rational explanation for US sanctions is to make an example of countries that refuse US dominance. Similar to how a gang running a protection racket punishes those who refuse to pay protection money.

Regardless of why US foreign policy has deemed it necessary to starve the Iranian people, it will not lead to a revolution in America's favour. The Shah is not coming back. It will just lead to more death of Iranians.

Are US sanctions on Cuba really intended to impoverish Cuba? I would think not, because Canada, the EU and other developed countries continue to trade with Cuba (and send holidaymakers there) and it has been decades since the US tried to put any real pressure on its allies to isolate Cuba.

Rather, I would suspect that the real aim of America’s Cuba policy is to appeal to the Cuban-exile demographic, which has a powerful lobby and can deliver votes to politicians in favor of the status quo.

I know I'm out of my league here, but it seems to me like a good thing that we sanction countries would would hand out a 10+ year jail sentence to a instagrammer for showcasing their hobby?

1. The regime wouldn't be this inclined to go after it's own people have they not been under this much pressure.

2. The people "really" punished are the same normal people. They are punished once by US economically and once punished by the regime morally/politically.

You should get off your high horse and do some light reading about things like "Three strikes and you're out" and "The new Jim crow". The US is absolutely not any better. 2+ million people in jail for profit.

Let Iran sanction the US then.

"the US has imposed sanctions on numerous countries since WWII and not in a single instance has it lead to a revolution in America's favour."

? US sanctions against Iran actually did lead to a 'win' for the US in the first round.

It's the expansion of those sanctions that has caused problems.

Sanctions on Russia have definitely had an effect [1]. It's hard to say exactly, only Putin knows, it's not like he'd admit it, but there's no doubt it affects his calculus.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_sanctions_during...

> Please, as a U.S. voter, I urge you to consider your support for stopping the sanctions.

How can a US voter actually affect change? What options are available for us to vote for?

This should be higher up.

Here's my cynical take: the most effective way to lift the sanctions would be lobbying from US corporations. Lifting sanctions is probably profitable for every US business with a market in Iran, so if you work at a US corporation, lobby your boss!

You can write a letter to your representative!

These suggestions are age-old tactics [0] used to placate the population and prevent actual, material change.

[0]: https://twitter.com/StuffFromSam/status/1344313566254477313?...

I'm not sure how much is by law and how much is by executive order, but I believe that when Biden gets in, he could make some changes unilaterally.

So, essentially this would be about advocating for change by the Biden administration. It wouldn't be by voting (since the election is already done), but writing to your representative could help. Maybe there are advocacy groups that could use support?

Advocating for changes is more likely to be effective with an administration that isn't fundamentally opposed to them.

> but I believe that when Biden gets in, he could make some changes unilaterally.

What makes you think he will do any of that besides a belief?

I wasn't saying he will do it. I was saying he could.

It seems the the US law was originally the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act [1] and there have been various laws extending it. Apparently they allow the President to waive sanctions on a case-by-case bases.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_and_Libya_Sanctions_Act

Maybe give your government a taste of their own medicine: go to the streets and overthrow your evil, corrupt politicians.

Can't wait to find some non-evil, non-corrupt politicians. Is there a Yelp for finding those?

Why not yourself?

Overthrow them and replace them with who? Who should be the leaders of the United States? I am open to ideas for who to vote for, and I think a lot of people are. That's why someone as obviously ill-suited for the job as Trump did win -- people are so desperate for something different but don't really know what they're looking for.

> replace them with who

Someone who aligns with your views - like yourself.

There's 300 million plus people in the United States. Sure, we could overthrow the government, but you can't just go "my way or the highway" with policies; you'll never get support doing that. As spoonjim said, Trump wasn't elected for no reason; He was elected because 62 million plus people voted for him. And with this past election, that number went up to 74 million. And the opposition (Biden/Harris) got 81 million. For comparison, George Washington's support was almost unanimous. Sure, it's not exactly the same, but Washington had the support he did because everyone believed in a common "enemy", the British Empire. Today, depending on who you ask, the enemy is either "the Demonrats" or "the Trumpanzees".[a]

Not to mention that the United States itself wasn't formed overnight; it was the product of many compromises. There's even a whole Broadway play about it: Hamilton[b].

[a]: Yes, these are actual "names" I've read online.

[b]: Sure, it's exaggerated, but it's pretty accurate

>the enemy is either "the Demonrats" or "the Trumpanzees".

You forgot Muslims, Mexicans, poor people and the non-white people of the US. They are just as much an enemy as the opposing political party (and the Russians and the Chinese....)

I definitely shouldn't be a leader of the United States, trust me on that. So, given that, to whom should I give my vote and other power I may hold?

> Please, as a U.S. voter, I urge you to consider your support for stopping the sanctions.

The US currently has a largely non-functioning government. Voting enacts little, if any, change. The two-party system currently in place has such ingrained lockstep change won't happen because everyone is worried about not getting re-elected or seeing diversity of opinion.

You're replying to a post describing the terrible effects of US sanctions on Iran. Imagine if you were living under those conditions, and person from the country enforcing the sanctions responded that there's nothing they can do because their two party democracy makes it too hard to change anything?

This is not the right place to complain about political gridlock in the US.

Why? If a person from Iran comments and says, I don't actually want to destroy the US but I can't really change it because XYZ.

Granted the post is a bit thin and doesn't go beyond the surface level of the issue, but its is relevant information for an outsider.

Given this is the US we are talking about most people probably know about the two party system and so on, but foreign relations is a special case even within that. My responds provides some more context to the problem pointed out.

Of course it's horrendous and completely disheartening but it does not make it not true, and I think it's important to inform that the answer is not 'voting'. Voting does nothing with a non-functioning government.

Unfortunately both parties on this are horribly bad. The Democrats just as bad as the Republicans. In their seal to not seem weak against the Republicans they have accepted the basic premises this foreign policy was developed.

Unlike Saudi, Qatar, Israel, UAE and others Iran has no lobby in the US. Because there is are no commercial ties, US buissness don't have existing relationships with Iran anymore.

While US companies like Boeing certainty would like to establish such commercial relation with Iran. Their far bigger intensive is to continue to support the Saudi/Israel vs Iran conflict and to sell massive amounts of weapons both to the US government and the governments of Saudi/Israel and allies.

Since there are no large factor to push the US a different direction the status quo has basically been established in the post 1979 world and things only changed minimally.

There is not genuine democratic support for these changes, mostly because most people simply have no idea of middle east politics and don't know the difference between Iran and Iraq or anything like that.

There is a broad based anti-war movement from both the left and the right, but it has very little politician influence outside of the presidential elections. In the presidential elections generally the more anti-war presidents wins, but usually once in office, everybody around is not of that opinion. In congress election foreign policy is usually not important enough of a factor.

Just considering that it was most Saudi bombers at the WW2 and the waste majority of issues and terror bombings have been by Sunnis has not changed the US political output in the least. Despite Iran actually reaching out to the US post-911 (threw the Swiss Embassy) putting a lot of issues up for debate but Bush categorically refused to even consider any engagement.

Its really hard to see what strategically could change so this policy direction could change anytime soon.

Iran does not need to develop nuclear weapons, nor fund regional militant and terrorist groups .. but they do. I wish the Iranian government would choose to be a good citizen of the region and the world, for the sake of their people.

Ever since the revolution they took a purposefully antagonistic stance towards the US for their own ideological reasons. The sad reality (for Iran) is that the present global order has been created and maintained by US - so if you can't get along with US, you are going to be a pariah. Many non-democratic nations can get along with US just fine - why can't Iran?

Yes, why won't Iran simply disarm under US pressure, like Gaddafi and Saddam did?

How well is Iran's current strategy of being a regional and global pariah working out?

Without excusing the actions of US, could you honestly say that the present circumstances Iran finds themselves in is not a result of their decisions and choices since the revolution? And like I said, it isn't even about regime change. US is friendly with plenty of non-democratic regimes, even ones they were at war with (like Vietnam). On the other side, nations that set an explicit policy of antagonism, like Cuba, North Korea and Iran, tend to not fare well. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

Iran's, and North Korea's, strategies are working out pretty well for the people making those decisions. Khamenei, like Kim Jong-Il, looks set to die of natural causes at an advanced age.

The people of Iran and North Korea are not doing so well. But if you were an Iranian citizen hoping for a better future, would you really pin your hopes on a US-backed regime change, after seeing the aftermath of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria?

>Iran's, and North Korea's, strategies are working out pretty well for the people making those decisions...The people of Iran and North Korea are not doing so well.

So your contention is that nation-states shouldn't interact with each other at the nation-state level? That is, if a nation-state proceeds with antagonistic policies, like funding regional militant and terrorist groups against your allies, you cannot hold that nation-state to account lest it hurt their populations? This is not an easy ethical question. At the nation-state level there is no rule of law, it is anarchy. It seems like there may be 'international law' in the modern world, but that's only for those that live within the sphere of influence of the relevant superpower who can enforce it (USA plays that role in much of the globe, soon to be replaced wholly or in part by Chinese influence).

Policies like sanctions have many goals. In the specific case of Iran, sanctions have a goal of curbing Iranian regional antagonism and not necessarily regime change (we're much too cynical for that).

>But if you were an Iranian citizen hoping for a better future, would you really pin your hopes on a US-backed regime change

There is no easy answer. Ultimately, it is the Iranian government that is responsible for the well-being of their citizens. Their citizens could have their lives drastically improved TODAY if their governments chose to do so. I don't know why you put that responsibility on the US because US cannot do this job. US needs to balance the well-being of their people as well as the well-being of the people of their regional allies as well, in addition to basic rights of all humans.

I posed a question to you in my previous message and you refused to answer it. But I'll rephrase: Why do you bend over backwards to remove all agency from Iranian government for actions they chose to get themselves and the people they are responsible for, into the present situation. This includes their absolute refusal for making decisions that would get them to stop being a regional and global pariah.

I don't really understand what you're referring to when you say that Iran has a choice to improve their people's lives today. The Iranian leadership talked to the USA and worked out a deal. The USA then went back on that deal, reimposed sanctions without even trying to renegotiate, and basically declared war on Iran, assassinating a top Iranian general. What choice do you think that Iran has right now? Their choices are surrender to US aggression, or continue to resist. I've mentioned a few of the many recent regional episodes - Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the Kurds - which make it completely obvious that appeasement of the US will not end well for the Iranian government or its people. They are making the only rational choice at this juncture. Since they have no alternative they are blameless at this juncture. Since the USA does have choices - to go back to the deal, or to try to renegotiate a new deal with whatever demands they might add - the USA is therefore to blame for current Iranian suffering.

> Please, as a U.S. voter, I urge you to consider your support for stopping the sanctions.

What does this mean? Who should I vote for?

A good start might be to contact your representatives, see what their thoughts on Iran are, and make your case. If they aren't interested, check out the opposition.

Other than that, I'm not sure.

OP is referring to voting in general, not in particular, as you're asking.

And unless you're in Georgia this obviously has no bearing on current candidates.

In general, the GOP, especially under Trump, have pursued the policy of sanctions against Iran at all costs. The Democrats have not.

So the answer to your question is pretty obvious, don't you think?

The Democrats have placed economic sanctions against Iran every day the party has been in power for the last forty years.

(so have the Republicans)

> Now, Iranian people hate the Islamic Republic and would get rid of them if they could. But the Islamic Republic has no limits. They would shoot and kill and many as it takes.

That's the problem with dictatorships. The only way to purchase a democracy again is with a lot of blood. Hopefully you had some sort of 2A rights (probably not since they are first to go under dictatorship) or else you'll be relying a lot on foreign provided weapons to break free in the future. Good luck, bad governments almost never "natually" become better over time. Power will continue to be consolidated.

Basically your whole comment amounts to "yes our government is evil, but we can't do anything to change it without people dying, and we aren't willing to do that so... just remove all the sanctions because people are suffering and it's better to have an evil government prosper than to prevent it from prospering by making its citizens suffer"

That said, I don't think Iranians should be barred from GitHub. Free exchange of ideas and code should be available universally.

> The goal of the sanctions are to make people of Iran so miserable that they would go in streets and start a revolution.

It's not the only or even the main goal. The main goal of such sanctions is to Iranian government to not have resources for war and terrorism. And it seems that in this regard, these sanctions work just fine.

I don't know what else could be reasonably expected from US by all the other ME countries.

> The main goal of such sanctions is to Iranian government to not have resources for war and terrorism.

Maybe against other countries, but they just end up using the resources they have to do that anyways... just against their own citizens. Sanctions are nothing more than using civilians with no choice as a pawn to force a revolution because we couldn't do it ourselves. It's kindof disgusting considering how many uninvolved bystanders turn into "collateral damage" in these situations.

> I don't know what else could be reasonably expected from US by all the other ME countries.

Beside leaving them alone and let them live in peace without American influence? Hm hard to say.

> leaving them alone

That is not possible when Iran threatens our allies and provides material support to organizations with the stated goal of causing mayhem to Americans and their allies.

Let’s be realistic: Iran and America are enemies. Keep that in mind when offering solutions.

Iran and America aren't enemies. Actually if you read the History from the relationship between both countries, you will see that Iran was always a strategic geopolitics partner from USA. Our "allies" aka Israel is totally capable to deal with the issue diplomatically, without any American interference. At the same time, without American interference in Europe, it would force Germany to diplomatically solve any pending issue with Russia too..

> read the History

Today we are enemies. It was different when the Shah was in power. I’m not talking about History. I’m talking about now.

The reality is that the US does about a 1000x more to hurt Iran then the other way around.

Iran threatens your 'allies' in a minimal way as they have basically no real military. Iran supports material support to some organizations that the US but mostly its allies don't like. The US supports about 100x more people Iran doesn't like and are just as hostile to Iran as Iranian allies are to the US.

And this is outside of arguments if the US should even be such strong allies with Saudi and co (including Israel).

And to simply say 'we are enemies therefore we can no change policy' is idiotic. The US and the Soviet Union were enemies, until in series of diplomatic talks many of the issues were resolved. The same goes for China.

The US has totally fucked up its relationship with Iran and its broader middle east politics in the last 50 years that is is hard to even comprehend the amount of utter and complete stupidity that went on.

Unfortunately HN post are not conductive to explaining all these issues. What I will point out is that we have lots of evidence from Political Science that sanctions are not effective to achieving political goals. We also have very good knowledge that the sanctions are not actually effective at what they are targeting.

Neither the missile sanctions nor the nuclear sanctions have actually achieved their goals. Democrats will of course argue that Obama nuclear sanctions were effective at 'forcing Iran to the table' but this is basically just putting on rose colored glasses if you actually understand the negotiations. Iran actually forced the US to give up on its some of its central demand, since despite sanctions the Iranian nuclear enrichment program (note, not weapons program) was not slowed down (in fact it went faster).

And what is even worse is that the US spent all this massive amount of effort on preventing Iran from doing and having all these things, while the US completely ignored things other nations did that are 100x worse violations. Israels nuclear nuclear weapons program, Pakistans nuclear weapons program, Saudi ICBMs are all far more dangerous then anything Iran had or was even aiming for and yet the US didn't lift a finger or in some cases closed it eyes to it.

All of UAE, Saudi, Qatar (and arguably Israel as well) support groups that are far worse and ideologically more opposed to what the US stands for compared to the groups Iran allies with. Yet, those are allies and not enemies.

Not trying to destroy the live of avg Iranians with sanctions and 'leaving them alone' is actually very reasonable and would help both the US, Iran and the middle east in general. That does not mean you can not still be opposed to each other on major issues.

"Beside leaving them alone and let them live in peace without American influence?"

Iran has no intentions of 'living in peace' and that's the whole point.

They are concerned with overthrowing House of Saud, controlling Yemen and Bahrain, antagonizing/surrounding Israel, being a controlling force in Syria and Lebanon, and of course, making Iraq a vassal state and controlling the Gulf.

That's just for starters.

The world would be delighted for Iran to get along with it's neighbours, after all, nobody is powerful enough to do them material harm anyhow.

So you are saying that US don't want competition in the region? Because what you described: "Control of Yemen and Bahrain, being a controlling force in Syria and Lebanon and making Iraq a Vassal state and controlling the Gulf" is exactly what US is trying to do since years in the region, no?


The only special interest the US has is to hold the House of Saud stable so their Oil can be sold freely on global markets.

Other than that, they just want stability, as does everyone.

The US wouldn't even need to have ships in the Gulf if it were not for Iran. The 5th fleet is there to protect cargo from Iranian aggression.

Particularly between Egypt and Israel both for the defence of Israel and of course, that the Suez Canal stays open (open to everyone, by the way).

The US did not have anything other than a basic presence over there (5th Fleet in the Gulf) before 9/11 and that was after a major war in Iraq.

The US wants to take a 'hard position' in the ME about as they want to in South Asia. Or South America. Or Western Europe i.e. they don't. They don't really even want to be there.

Iran is super chauvinist antagonizing state - they don't simply want to 'live in peace' with their neighbours, far from it, they want to be the 'regional superpower' and take their historic position as dominating the Arabs, who they hate.

Right now, the Arab/Persian hate war is much worse than the traditional Muslim/Jewish hate war and it's causing problems.

The bulk of instability in the Middle East right now can be traced to Iran.

If Iran would just shut up and stay home, then there'd be some mopping up in Syria, Yemen might very well stabilize and then there would be peace in the ME like there has not been in centuries.

To see Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel getting along like buddies is basically shocking to everyone who remembers how bad it was, and they are 'besties' specifically because the mutual threat they face in Iran.

So, you are kind of being cynical or very simplistic in your answer.

The fact is: regional superpower cannot compete with the world superpower, right? The Saudis have always seen themselves as the exclusive outside power in Yemen, for example. They called US when when Iranian-backed Houthi rebels marched on Yemen’s capital city and overthrew the transitional government that came into power during the Arab Spring of 2011. So it's not just about Iran, but to assure the geopolitical control in the region (through Allies and Proxy wars), control the global price of Oil, and to avoid that - in case of War - nobody does to US, what US did to Japan in the WWII (stop fuel provision)

The new episode from "Intelligence Matters"[1] talks a lot of about that. It's not just because of Iran.

Reference: https://podcasts.apple.com/de/podcast/american-withdrawal-in...

It's neither cynical nor simplistic.

It's a positive view because the US, despite it's failings, is a positive and pragmatic actor.

It's not simplistic because I'm respecting the fact that 'geostability' is a primary concern, even as that might run counter to other objectives such as democracy, free markets etc.

"regional superpower cannot compete with the world superpower" of course they can and do.

It costs the US tremendously to project it's power in Iran obviously a 'full on war' between parties would be mostly decisive in the short run but that's besides the point.

You are failing to differentiate between the kind of power that the US projects vs Iran.

The US actually supports, and helps hold together the House of Saud and therefore stability in Saudi Arabia.

They otherwise don't interfere internally. They put some pressure on Saudis for social progress but that's that.

The US is trying to help 'hold things together'.

The result of this, is that Saudi can provide oil - not to America, but to the world, at market prices.

The only special provision that comes along with US protection of the Gulf is that the Saudis cannot for example sell their Oil exclusively to China or Russia or do some kind of big strategic deal with them.

Put another way - US presence there is to stop Russia/China or some other power from taking hold.

Saudi has an interest in Yemen because it's right on the border, and full of rebels who'd like to overthrow it, ultimately, they also want peace and stability.

Iran wants to cajole, control and antagonize the Arab states and Israel and not in a nice way. They now have Iraq as a vassal state, and they'd prefer the Arabs to be their vassals as well.

If Iran did not exist, there would be almost zero ongoing fighting right now in the ME. Syria, yes, but outside of that no.

That's not what most of the surrounding countries want. Almost all of the Iran's neighbours actively work to keep US pressure on it.

Enemies of Iran want the US tax payers to fund their own political project so they can spend their money on Swiss watches, German cars, American technology and imported woman from all over the world? Shocking that this would be the case.

Your statement is also not actually correct. And in so far it is correct, part of is that if they wouldn't support it, the US would consider them enemies as well.

Israel and Saudi Arabia aren't the most of surrounding countries. Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon.. they all are either pro Iran or "Neutral".

Your comment breaks my heart, and I hate what my country is doing to Iran. Reactionaries started the problems in 1953, and they're perpetuating and multiplying it today. Unfortunately for those of us who wish to appeal to the better natures of the right wing in the USA that support these sanctions, the cruelty is the point: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/the-cruelt...

Note: the US has placed economic sanctions against Iran every single day for the last four decades - regardless of who was US president, or which party was in power.

>wish to appeal to the better natures of the right wing

You voted for the right wing last time you voted (I know because there are no one else to vote for). The Democrats are also right-wing, anti-Iran, pro-Israel, etc.

"Maximum Pressure campaign's goal is to make people so miserable, they'd rather face bullets/wars."

No, Iran, including the 'Regime' would actually be doing just fine if they dropped nuclear ambitions and stopped supporting the overthrow of Saudi Arabia.

It's an odd paradox, because even the Islamic Revolutionaries could be a quasi-ally of the US if they really wanted to. The US cares about security, predictability, trade and cooperation between state actors first, internal issues second.

" the maximum pressure campaign has rendered Iranian people completely miserable" - the Iranian government has rendered people miserable. Stop blaming the US for the bad behaviour of the regime.

Maybe we can have 'GitHub Diplomacy' ...

I feel badly for you, however, there's little evidence to suggest that we can change anything by voting. Mounting evidence suggest our "democracy" is a dog and pony show run by wealthy super villains, morally bankrupt politicians, and single-minded super-corporations.

Our best bet is coalesce around each other, the working class, and build a better system of world governance.

This will get downvoted but the truth is the US doesn't treat us any better. Plenty of people are given harsh sentences for victimless-crimes. Property is protected at all costs. The system is pay-to-play. You either get in line or are ostracized.

An overall negative view of democracy. If you actually pool people on most issues, the outcome of politics is not so far off from what people want.

The reality is that people simply don't care about Iran or know where it even is. Foreign policy issue outside of direct wars almost never dominate the political cycle.

And even if they do on a presidential level, since only the president is relevant vote for a national level it impact is minimal. Congress elections usually don't turn on foreign policy.

> the truth is the US doesn't treat us any better

The parent stated "But the Islamic Republic has no limits. They would shoot and kill and many as it takes." Parent also stated "The government is also quite scared, and to make sure there wont be uprisings, is spreading fear. They execute people and hand cruel sentences to everyone. Last weeks they gave a 10 years sentence to an 18 years makeup artist who had a famous Instagram account. Journalists are executed, etc. People's morale are completely shattered."

You, and others, don't have it better in the US? Really?

I think you are trying to show empathy and I agree with most of your comment, but to me, you can't empathize unless you've experienced it.

And I don't wish to demean experiences of some oppressed people in the US and their experiences (certainly the wrongfully convicted come to mind as a huge injustice), but your comment is not objectively accurate.

The US just voted for Biden who will probably have a different policy position than Trump and that's part of the package.

It works on some level.

Also, it's definitely the job of the US diplomatic corps to set out the strategy there because most plebes couldn't find Iran on a map.

It'd be nice to try to explain the policy better, but as I check in with TikTok for a few minutes now and again, I don't think there's much hope there.

This decision is proof of that. Microsoft can work to lobby the government to get access in Iran, but there's no way 50 person shop in Mississippi could even hope to without a few tens of millions to throw away on lobbyists or special interests groups.

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