Iranians are protesting to demand justice and to highlight the death of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the morality police and subsequently died in a hospital in Tehran under suspicious circumstances.

Mike Kemp | In photos via Getty Images

A bipartisan group of 13 lawmakers called on several U.S. tech CEOs to do more to help Iranians stay connected to the Internet as their government seeks to censor communications amid ongoing protests.

The Iranian regime has taken aggressive measures to block citizens from the internet and anti-government messages as people across the country continue to protest against its restrictive standards. The protests began after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died while in the custody of Iran’s so-called morality police, who accused her of improperly wearing the hijab, an Islamic head covering for women.

In the letter to the executive directors of Amazon, An apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft and cloud service DigitalOcean, lawmakers asked leaders to be “more proactive” in obtaining important favors for Iran. Treasury last month issued guidance on US sanctions against Iran to make it clear that social media platforms, video conferencing and cloud services that provide virtual private networks can operate in Iran.

“While we appreciate some of the steps taken by your companies, we believe that your companies could be more proactive in acting in accordance with the broad authorization provided in GLD-2,” the lawmakers wrote, referring to the general license. used to issue sanctions guidelines.

They specifically named four different types of tools they would like to see companies work to get into the hands of the Iranian people: cloud and hosting services, messaging and communication tools, developer tools and analytics, and access to app stores.

Lawmakers said these types of tools would help Iranian citizens stay connected to the Internet in secure ways amid government-imposed shutdowns and reduce their reliance on local infrastructure. Having multiple secure communication tools would make it difficult for the Iranian regime to shut them all down at once, they wrote.

The lawmakers also said that giving the Iranian people access to developer tools and app stores would allow them to “build and harden” their own communications apps and security tools and give them room to distribute them without government oversight.

Reps. Tom Malinowski, DN.J., Claudia Tenney, RN.Y., and Sen. Bob Menendez, DN.J. and Marcia Blackburn, R-Tenn., took the initiative in the letter.

“Iranians are fearlessly risking their lives for their basic rights and dignity,” they wrote. “Your tools and services may be vital in their efforts to pursue these aspirations, and the United States should continue to make every effort to assist them.”

A Google spokesperson said in a statement that the company is working on ways to “ensure continued access to publicly available communication tools like Google Meet and our other Internet services.” Google launched location sharing in Iran on Google Maps in September to let people know their loved ones where they are, and the Jigsaw team at Google is working to make its tool more widely available so that users in Iran can can run their own VPNs that resist blocking, the spokesperson added.

Meta did not comment. The Facebook owner made Instagram and WhatsApp available in Iran, but the services were available limited by the government.

The other companies named in the letter did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

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