Iran restricts social media networks used by protesters

Posted January 01, 2018

The company's CEO Pavel Durov tweeted that Iranian authorities took action after his company refused to shut down "peacefully protesting channels". Two protesters were killed in Dorud in the province of Lorestan late Saturday during clashes with security forces, Habibollah Khojastehpour, deputy for political affairs for the province of Lorestan, said in an interview posted on the website of Iran's state broadcaster.

Iranian hard-liners who support President Rouhani, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the clerical establishment of the Islamic Republic came out in droves this weekend to retaliate against the demonstrators.

"Counterrevolution groups and foreign media are continuing their organized efforts to misuse the people's economic and livelihood problems and their legitimate demands to provide an opportunity for unlawful gatherings and possibly chaos", state TV said of the protests.

And when that happened, state media was also forced to acknowledge that it had not initially reported on the protests on the orders of security officials.

"Some meant to enter and damage some government places but the attackers did not manage to achieve their goals. and the town is under control", the unidentified official told the ILNA news agency.

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Two protesters were shot dead in the western town of Dorud on Saturday night.

On Sunday, Hassan Rouhani, Iran's president, made his first public address since protests broke out across the country on Thursday.

The protests began in Mashhad against high living costs and the struggling economy before spreading quickly to other areas and turning against the Islamic regime as a whole.

Iranian Communications Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi had earlier accused channels like Amadnews of promoting "armed uprising and social unrest".

Iran was rocked this week by the largest protests in the country since 2009.

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The local authorities added, however, that the security forces had not opened fire at protesters.

"Big protests in Iran", he later added.

The protests have erupted at a time of deepening strains between Iran and the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has imposed additional sanctions on Tehran and has threatened to scuttle the nuclear accord.

"This gentleman in America, who is now trying to sympathise with our nation, appears to have forgotten that he called the Iranian nation terrorists several months ago", he was reported to have said.

Since the 2009 protests against a disputed presidential election that gave hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term were ruthlessly put down, many middle-class Iranians have abandoned hope of securing change from the streets. "Looks like they will not take it any longer", Trump wrote. "The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!"

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In his first public comments, Mr Rouhani criticised Mr Trump.