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Yahoo! has reinstated its free webmail services in Iran, less than a year after the firm blocked new registrations from the country citing tighter US sanctions.

Iran has also reappeared in the registration country list of Microsoft's Hotmail service.

Last November we reported how both had blocked new webmail and instant messenger registrations from Iran. At the time Yahoo! said it was responding to US government restrictions. Microsoft refused to explain its move.

Last week both were seen reversing the freeze. Yahoo! told El Reg:

The United States restricts U.S. companies from conducting business in specified countries, such as Iran, Cuba, Sudan and others. We continually review and adjust our business operations to identify any opportunities we may have in providing our innovative communication and content services in accordance with applicable laws, and have done so with respect to Iran.

Yahoo!'s core values center on helping people around the world communicate and engage in free expression. We strive to balance the benefits of providing our users innovative communication services such as Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Messenger with the need to comply with applicable laws.

Microsoft again refused to comment on the issue.

US sanctions against Iran have not changed since last October, immediately before Yahoo! and Microsoft imposed their embargo. The tightening of trade restrictions did not prompt Google to remove Iran from its country lists.

Iranian nationalist bloggers have claimed Yahoo! and Microsoft's policy changes as a victory for their "Hello Yahoo Mail" online campaign. The action included an attempt to Googlebomb the search term "Yahoo mail" with pro-Iranian websites. Kourosh Zabari claimed on OhMyNews that five million Iranians had deleted their Yahoo! accounts in protest at the perceived slight against their country. ®

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