As Iran Lifts Internet Blackout, Videos Depicting Brutal Crackdown Surface
Videos depicting the Iranian regime’s suppression of mass anti-government protests have started filtering out of the country as Tehran continues to lift restrictions on Internet access. Shortly after the demonstrations erupted on November 15, ostensibly over a hike in gasoline prices, Iranian officials ordered a total Internet blackout for a period of five days. Amid growing international pressure, the regime has since relaxed the online clampdown, which has allowed people to upload their videos to social media. One being widely circulated allegedly shows the recently reported massacre of scores of civilians by security forces in the Iranian city of Mahshahr. Others depict protesters being beaten, bloodied and shot at close range, as well as snipers firing into crowds from rooftops. According to Amnesty International, which has verified some of the clips, more than 200 Iranians have been killed over the past three weeks. On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump weighed in from a NATO summit in London. “Iran is killing perhaps thousands and thousands of people right now as we speak,” he said, adding that Tehran has “cut off the Internet so people can’t see what’s going on.” When queried whether Washington could do more to support the protesters, President Trump simply answered: “I’d rather not say right now.” The Islamic Republic has denounced estimated casualty figures as “utter lies,” although state television earlier this week for the first time conceded that “rioters” had been shot to death in numerous cities. While protests have regularly erupted in Iran over the past decade, most analysts agree that the current regime-sponsored brutality is the worst seen since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.