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Tech Industry

ICANN returns .iq domain to Iraq

The Internet overseer gives control of the domain name to an Iraqi government body.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the nonprofit organization responsible for Internet addresses, has decided to give control of Iraq's .iq domain name to an Iraqi government body, the National Communications and Media Commission (NCMC).

After the war in Iraq, ICANN said it believed the country to be too unstable to take over running its own top level domain. The .iq domain name has been in limbo since 2002, when several executives of InfoCom, the Texas-based company assigned to act as the official .iq overseer in 1997, were charged with having links to Islamic extremist group Hamas. The NCMC asked for control of its domain name in June 2004. ICANN agreed to grant the application during a recent board meeting, saying the move is in "the best interests of the local and global Internet communities." The change in administration of .iq will allow the Iraqi government to standardize all its e-mail and Web addresses.

Jo Best of reported from London.