Iran threatens protesters, shuts down internet

Iran threatens protesters, shuts down internet
As demonstrations continue against the Iranian government, the regime has ordered an internet and network blackout in an attempt to limit the protesters message.
2 min read
31 December, 2017
Deadly violence erupts as anti-government protests enter their fourth day [Anadolu]
The Iranian government has threatened anti-government protesters and ordered an internet blackout, as demonstrations against the regime continue to grow.

Protests began on Thursday in the north-eastern city of Mashhad, with anti-government rallies quickly spreading to other cities including Tehran, Khorramabad, Karaj and Sabzevar.

Thousands are thought to have taken part in the protests, making them the biggest show of public defiance since 2009, when Iranians - as part of the newly-formed Green Movement - took to the streets to denounce alleged rigged presidential elections by then-President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

The protests this time were initially centred around the rising living costs, but quickly became focused against the the regime in general.

On Saturday, the Iranian government issued a warning against any further "illegal gatherings", as well as making attempts to cut off internet access for mobile phones.

The protests were fanned in part by messages sent on the encrypted Telegram messaging app. 

Pavel Durov, Telegram's CEO said on Sunday, that Iran has blocked access for the "majority of Iranians" after protesters began using the messaging app.

Authorities also blocked the photo-sharing app Instagram, owned by tech giant Facebook. 

"Iranian authorities are blocking access to Telegram for the majority of Iranians after our public refusal to shut down … peacefully protesting channels," Pavel Durov wrote.

Iran's state TV news website,, quoted an anonymous source saying that social media in Iran would be temporarily limited as a safety measure.

"With a decision by the Supreme National Security Council, activities of Telegram and Instagram are temporarily limited," the report said, without elaborating.

Several Iranian anti-government protesters have been shot dead by the country's notorious Revolutionary Guard force as they opened fire on demonstrators.

Opposition websites posted video footage of the protesters, in which demonstrators carried the bodies of the killed and injured, while they chanted "death to Khamenei".

Another video showed a protester who had been shot in the chest by the Revolutionary Guard.

Many have taken to social media under the hashtag #IranProtests to show defiance and solidarity with the protesters.

Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard is a military wing responsible for protecting the current ruling system. Previous shows of public defiance have been put down ruthlessly. 

Dozens of anti-government activists were killed and many more imprisoned during the 2009 uprisings. 

At least 50 protesters have been arrested since Thursday, Iranian authorities said.