Iran has lifted its ban on the popular Telegram messaging app two weeks after more than 21 people were killed in anti-governments.
The country’s semi-official ILNA news agency said that the service – which has some 40 million users in Iran – is now accessible once again through both wi-fi and mobile networks.
The Associated Press spoke on Saturday to residents from several cities across the country, including Shiraz, Isfahan, Bandar Abbas, Rasht and Oroumieh, who all confirmed that they now have access to the app.
Iran shut down social media in an attempt to stop unrest from spreading widely as deadly anti-government protests continue across the country earlier this month
Twelve people have been reported dead during a fourth straight night of protests in Iran, including reports of three people killed in the city of Isfahan
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (pictured) dismissed the violent country-wide protests as ‘nothing’, in a bid to downplay their significance
Protesters clashed with security forces pver the new year as they tried to storm a police station in Qahderijan, a town of 30,000 in the Isfahan region of central Iran
Iran shut down Telegram and the picture-sharing app Instagram during the protests in early January, saying rioters demanding cheaper food and more jobs were using them to spread unrest.
Soon afterwards the authorities restored access to Instagram but Telegram had remained banned.
In other developments, Iran on Saturday rejected any modification of its nuclear deal with world powers after US President Donald Trump demanded tough new measures to keep the agreement alive.
Iran ‘will not accept any amendments in this agreement, be it now or in the future, and it will not allow any other issues to be linked to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)’, the foreign ministry said in a statement, using the 2015 deal’s technical name.
The deal is backed by all the partners to the agreement apart from the U.S. with Russia warning Washington on Saturday that withdrawing would be ‘a big miscalculation’.
President Trump again waived nuclear-related sanctions on Friday – as required every few months to stay in the agreement – but demanded that European partners work with Washington to ‘fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw’.
The other parties to the agreement – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union – have all said the deal is working and that Iran is complying fully with its commitments.
Britain and Germany said Friday they had taken note of Mr Trump’s latest decision and would confer with France before responding.
On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told French President Emmanuel Macron that changing the nuclear deal would increase the chances of it remaining in place.
‘Trump’s remarks should be taken seriously, and whoever wants to keep the nuclear deal would be wise to fix it’, a statement from Netanyahu’s office read after the premier spoke to Macron by telephone.
On the streets of Tehran, many people have grown cynical and exasperated by the endless pressure from the United States.
‘It doesn’t make any difference. We have been under US sanctions for the last 40 years,’ said Farshad Alyan, a 26-year-old law student.