Iran starts internet shutdown ahead of possible new protests

Iranian authorities restrict mobile internet access in several regions ahead of further protests sparked by fuel price rises

  • Social media posts and some relatives of people were killed in unrest last month 
  • Protests erupted after hikes in gasoline prices and caused widespread unrest
  • In November Iran shut down the internet for a week to help stifle fuel protests

Iranian authorities have shut down mobile internet access in several provinces, a day before new protests have been called for on social media.

Social media posts and some relatives of people killed in unrest last month over hikes in gasoline prices have called for renewed protests and commemoration ceremonies for the dead on Thursday.

The news agency ILNA quoted an informed source at the Communications and Information Technology Ministry.

In this file photo taken on November 16, 2019 Iranian protesters gather around a fire during a demonstration against an increase in gasoline prices in the capital Tehran

It said the shutdown was ordered by ‘security authorities’ and covered the Alborz, Kurdestan and Zanjan provinces in central and western Iran and Fars in the south.

‘According to this source, it is possible that more provinces will be affected by the shutdown of mobile international connectivity,’ ILNA said.

In November, Iran shut down the internet for about a week to help stifle the fuel protests which turned political, sparking the bloodiest crackdown in the 40-year history of the Islamic Republic.

The internet blockage made it difficult for protesters to post videos on social media to generate support and also to obtain reliable reports on the extent of the unrest. 

Iran has confirmed there were deaths among some protesters during the unrest, but it never gave a death toll. 

Amnesty International says more than 300 people were killed in the clashes and authorities detained more than 7,000 people.