Students from Middle Eastern countries including Iran and Sudan look set to face a ban from some of the world's top online university courses as part of the latest round of US sanctions targeting unfavourable foreign governments.
The US government is targetting eager learners in the latest round of sanctions against nations that have fallen out of favour with Uncle Sam. Hard-nosed regulators have decided to force online universities and education resources to apply for special permissions to make courses available in countries hit by US sanctions. The move results means innocent students in countries such as Iran and Sudan are left without the opportunity to access materials form the world's top universities including the prestigious Havard University.
The move looks set to anger human rights groups, which have long accused the United States of targetting civilians when imposing sanctions on foreign states. Coursera, a major online course provider, has already begun blocking access to its site for users in Iran, Sudan and Cuba while it works with US regulators to secure an exception from the nation’s trade sanctions on those nations. “It is with deep regret that we have had to make a change to our accessibility in some countries,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.