With escalating protests triggered by a petrol price hike that have gripped the country since Friday, Iranian authorities have shut down the internet.
Iran’s internet shutdown ordered by a state security council, apparently aimed at preventing protesters from communicating with each other and sharing video on social media.
Amnesty International believes that “the authorities have shut down the internet to create an information blackout of their brutal crackdown.”
We're horrified at reports that dozens of protesters have been killed in #Iran, hundreds injured & over 1000 arrested since Friday. We're alarmed that authorities have shut down the internet to create an information blackout of their brutal crackdown. We're investigating.
— Amnesty International (@amnesty) November 18, 2019
The internet blackout started on Saturday evening and continued through Monday, according to internet watchdogs. Oracle’s Internet Intelligence called it the “largest internet shutdown ever observed in Iran.”
On Sunday night, Internet observatory NetBlocks, an organization that tracks internet access across the world declared that the Iranian regime had imposed a “near-total internet shutdown” after protests erupted over fuel prices. According to the organization’s website, national connectivity reached 5 percent of ordinary levels. “The ongoing disruption constitutes a severe violation of the basic rights and liberties of Iranians,” NetBlocks declared on its Twitter account.
Confirmed: #Iran is now in the midst of a near-total national internet shutdown; realtime network data show connectivity at 7% of ordinary levels after twelve hours of progressive network disconnections as public protests continue #IranProtests 📉
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) November 16, 2019
According to NetBlocks, every day of internet blackout in Iran will cause nearly $370 million in damages to the country.
Iran’s largest internet shutdown drew condemnation across the world.
“We condemn the attempted shutdown of the internet. Let them speak!” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Twitter on Sunday.
The U.S. stands with the long-suffering Iranian people as they protest the latest injustice by the corrupt regime in power. We condemn the attempted shutdown of the internet. Let them speak! #IranProtests https://t.co/jmNvFTueBl
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) November 16, 2019
Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany condemned the shutdown of internet access in Iran and called on large tech companies to support the people of Iran and help restore their access.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) November 17, 2019
Protests started on Friday after the government increased the price of gasoline from 10,000 rial to 30,000 rial per liter while allocating 60 liters of gasoline ration for every car per month at 15000, rial per liter.
Officials say the changes will free up money to help the poor.
Iranian protesters, however, say the Iranian regime has increased the price of gasoline, while it is spending billions of dollars to support Bashar al-Assad in Syria, as well as militant forces in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.