As protests intensify, Iran blocks WhatsApp and Instagram. Due to the death of Mahsa Amini, who was detained in Tehran for reportedly wearing “an inappropriate clothing” and illegally donning her hijab headscarf, Iran has limited access to key social media sites in the wake of the country’s ongoing protests.
Residents and internet watcher NetBlocks claim that the country restricted access to Instagram and WhatsApp.
A “nation-scale loss of connectivity” on the networks of two different companies and Iran’s primary mobile phone operator knocked millions of Iranians offline, according to NetBlocks.
⚠️ #Iran is now subject to the most severe internet restrictions since the November 2019 massacre.
▶️ Mobile networks largely shut down (MCI, Rightel, Irancell – partial)
▶️ Regional disruptions observed during protests
▶️ Instagram, WhatsApp restrictedhttps://t.co/8cCHIJA2Oi
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) September 21, 2022
Hours after Instagram’s services were disabled, various internet service providers affected WhatsApp’s servers, according to London-based NetBlocks.
Citizens are unable to send footage and images of what is happening without the use of the internet.
Authorities claim Masha Amini allegedly suffered a stroke and a heart attack while being held at the “guidance center,” and she eventually passed away after being taken to the hospital.
Meanwhile her family refuted the Iranian authorities’ allegations, stating that she had no pre-existing conditions.
In some areas of the Islamic Region, social media websites including TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are frequently restricted. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), however, are frequently used by tech-savvy locals to get around barriers.
According to Netblocks, this interruption is the “most serious” to have occurred since the 2019 fuel protests when the internet was shut down.
Following the death in detention of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman detained for reportedly wearing her hijab headscarf inappropriately, the United States added Iran’s morality police to its sanctions blacklist on Thursday.
The US Treasury announced the sanctions “for abuse and violence against Iranian women and the violation of rights of peaceful Iranian protestors” and claimed that the morality police were “responsible” for Amini’s death, which has provoked a wave of public uproar.
In response to last week’s death of Iranian-Kurdish Amini, who had been detained by the national police’s public morals unit, violent protests broke out across Iran.
“Mahsa Amini was a courageous woman whose death in morality police custody was yet another act of brutality by the Iranian regime’s security forces against its own people
“We condemn this unconscionable act in the strongest terms and call on the Iranian government to end its violence against women and its ongoing violent crackdown on free expression and assembly,” a statement by the Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen.
At least 17 people have reportedly killed in unrest after Amini’s passing, as women burned their headscarves and protesters criticized the government’s direction and limitations on women.
At least 31 citizens have been slain in six nights of violence, according to the non-governmental organization Iran Human Rights, located in Oslo.
Mohammad Rostami Cheshmeh Gachi, the head of the morality police, Haj Ahmad Mirzaei, the head of the morality police’s Tehran division, and five other top security officers who participated in the suppression of protestors were also sanctioned by the Treasury.
According to the report, Rostami declared earlier this year that women who refused to wear a hijab would face consequences.
“The Iranian government needs to end its systemic persecution of women and allow peaceful protest,”
“The United States will continue to voice our support for human rights in Iran and hold those who violate them to account,” in a statement issued by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Treasury sanctions aim to restrict the designated persons’ access to worldwide financial networks by freezing any assets they may have that are subject to US jurisdiction and prohibiting any US persons or entities — including foreign banks with US operations — from doing business with them.