During the protests that erupted in Iran following the disputed Presidential election in June 2009, the central government in Tehran deported all foreign journalists, shut down traditional media outlets, closed off print journalism and disrupted cell phone lines. The government also infiltrated networks, posing as activists and using false identities to round up dissidents. In spite of this, the sharing of information using the Internet prevailed.
YouTube and Twitter were cited by journalists, activists and bloggers as the best source for firsthand accounts and on-the-scene footage of the protests and violence across the country. At the time, though, U.S. export controls and sanctions programs prohibited software downloads to Iran.
Google is reporting that "Some of those export restrictions have now been lifted and today, for the first time, we're making Google Earth, Picasa and Chrome available for download in Iran."
"We're committed to full compliance with U.S. export controls and sanctions programs and, as a condition of our export licenses from the Treasury Department, "we'll continue to block IP addresses associated with the Iranian government.""