US CyberCott, A New Behavior

The United States officials are displaying a new behavior by imposing sanctions in cyber domain against Iran.

Evil actions have taken a new shape in the current world and western leaders have adopted fresh approaches for controlling their opponents. Cyber space, in which Americans boast to have the full authority, is a glaring and peculiar example in recent decade. Imposing sanctions against Iran is turning into 40 years of age, though.

The excuse for US sanctions has always been to prevent the threat of international peace and security by Iran; however, interpreting the statements of the American officials and reviewing the country's previous approaches against Islamic Republic, the United States does not appear to have goodwill toward the international community in imposing sanctions on Iran. In fact, cyber sanctions are indicative of a lack of international consensus on the US strategy against Iran and an attempt to create dissatisfaction with the Iranian public.

What is a Cyber Sanction?

Cyber sanction is in fact an action taken to prevent access to the free exchange of information in cyberspace by international actors against other governments and organizations, in order to punish them or deprive them of certain exchanges. The cyber concept is not only limited to Internet sphere but also it is included in all the social relationships involved in information and communications technologies. This feature, along with other proprietary features of the Internet, has transformed into a different world that requires its own rights.

What are the Challenges for Internet Users?

One simplest type of sanctions that has been taken so far is to stop access of mobile phone users to the global application providers. Many users inside Iran have been struggling with such a problem over the past years. As a case in point, a large number of these people, after buying a mobile phone, confront retailers blocking their users to offer required software and applications.

Still, Iranian users are having trouble installing a file or software from sources such as the App Store, Google Play, and other services from Google, Microsoft, McAfee and etc.

Although some of these sanctions may be resolved by using various tools, such as proxies or other ones, it is unlikely that access to these popular services will be easy and cost-free. According to a reference, a sanction consists of a set of actions by one or more governments that are intended to force another government to comply with international agreements and norms. Definitive cyber sanction ramifications include increased costs for services and slower growth of science, resulting in increased public discontent in society.

Cyber Sanctions, Multifaceted and Complex 

Sanctions in cyberspace include different categories which include issues such as the denial of access to software and hardware services and equipment used in cyberspace, the denial of access to world-wide scientific resources that can be obtained through the cyberspace, or the denial of access to financial exchange infrastructure such as SWIFT. Another example is that Iran's academic and research centers have not had access to global resources for many years and this inaccessibility is becoming increasingly widespread. 

Cyber Sanctions Violate Article 41 of the United Nations Charter

Iran, as one of the main pillars of the Non-Aligned Movement and one of the responsible members of the international community, is committed to strengthening its legal instruments for cyber sanctions internationally. For many years, Iran has been the target of cyber sanctions sponsored by the United States and its allies. The sanctions sought to disrupt the computer networks of power grids, government entities, nuclear facilities, oil terminals and other major industrial and economic sectors. The sanctions are associated with financial and material damage and sometimes caused disruption.

It is clear that the sanctions are illegal in the light of established international rules, including the principles and objectives of the United Nations Charter. The first and second articles of the United Nations Charter provide a framework in which the member states of this organization interact. In accordance with article 2, paragraph 4, all members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

Regrettably, the United States has behaved in such a way that there is no standard in the international community regarding these unauthorized deeds. Efforts to create global rules on the prohibition of cyber sanction, in particular the laws under the authority of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have not yet led to a binding international legal instrument due to differences of opinion between the member states.  Nonetheless, in the absence of an international governance system for managing the Internet and cyberspace, general rules of international law prevail. Governments must be obliged to behave responsibly and observe the norms and principles of international law.