Internet-Access Advocacy Group: Iran Blocking Internet to Quell Protests
Cellphone internet service in Iran has been disrupted amid protests in the oil-rich Khuzestan Province in southwest Iran over severe electricity and water shortages as temperatures climbed past 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), internet-access advocacy group NetBlocks.org said Thursday. Three people were killed in the violent demonstrations. The group said the service disruption was, in part, due to “state information controls or targeted internet shutdowns” and that the information it had on the outages were “consistent with a regional internet shutdown intended to control protests.” Blocking internet access limits citizens’ ability to express dissatisfaction with government policies, prevents protesters from documenting their demonstrations and the responses of security forces in real time, and prevents activists and organizers from communicating with each other and with the outside world. There has been no official word from the government in Tehran on why internet service was blocked. The Islamic Republic has pulled the plug on the internet repeatedly since the 2009 Green Movement protests.