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Iran's students to have US online courses
Saturday, June 07, 2014

By Sean Coughlan

BBC News education correspondent

Yazd, Iran US sanctions have been stopping access to online education in Iran

A major US online university network says restrictions are to be partially lifted on providing online courses for students in Iran.

Online university courses have been caught up in US trade sanctions against Iran, Cuba and Sudan, so that students in those countries were blocked from many free courses from US universities.

Coursera says it has been "working closely with governing authorities to navigate licences and permissions" and, as a result, "Iranian learners will now regain access to the majority of Coursera's courses".

The California-based Coursera has almost eight million registered students, making it one of the world's biggest providers of so-called Moocs - massive open online courses.

Coursera, which has courses from more than 100 universities, including Stanford and Yale, says it expects to be used by tens of thousands of students in Iran.

Hi-tech ban

But there are still some barriers in place.

"Sanctions still prohibit educational institutions and organisations from offering certain subjects," says Coursera. These include advanced-level courses in science, technology, engineering and maths.

It means that anyone trying to access these courses from an Iranian internet address will be blocked.

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