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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The southeastern region of Iran on Saturday reported internet disruptions following demonstrations against Monday's fatal border shootings, AP reports.

The big picture: Iran has a history of suppressing freedom of speech, association and assembly, according to Amnesty International. Internet blackouts are now common around the world when power hangs in the balance, Axios' Dave Lawler and Sara Fischer write.

Details: The Iranian government shut down the mobile data network in Sistan and Baluchestan — where the vast majority of the population accesses the internet by phone — for three days starting Wednesday. Residents said the internet had been restored by early Saturday, per AP.

What they're saying: "This is Iran’s traditional response to any kind of protest ... Shutting down the internet to block news and pictures getting out makes (authorities) feel more comfortable opening fire," Amir Rashidi from Miaan Group, a human rights organization focused on digital security in the Middle East, told AP.

Context: Protests in the southeast region earlier this week "over the shootings of fuel smugglers trying to cross back into Iran from Pakistan on Monday" left at least two people dead, AP writes.

  • There are still no official reports of how many people have been killed or injured by law enforcement, according to Iran Human Rights Monitor, a group dedicated to calling attention to human rights violations in Iran.

Flashback: Iranian authorities in 2019 implemented a near-total internet shutdown during protests to prevent people from sharing images and videos of the lethal force used by law enforcement against anti-government demonstrators who were protesting a rise in fuel prices, per Amnesty International.

Go deeper

Feb 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

"Be careful": Biden says U.S. airstrike in Syria sent warning to Iran

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that Thursday night's airstrikes against facilities tied to an Iranian-backed militia group in Syria were meant to warn Iran that it "can't act with impunity."

Driving the news: The Pentagon said the strikes, which were authorized by Biden, were carried out "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq" and were intended to "de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq."

Feb 26, 2021 - World

U.S. notified Israel in advance about Syria strike

Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration notified Israel in advance about the airstrike against an Iranian-backed Shiite militia base on the Syrian-Iraqi border Thursday evening, Israeli officials told me.

Why it matters: The airstrike was the first overt military action by the U.S. in the Middle East since Biden assumed office, and one that Israeli officials see as a positive signal about the new administration's posture toward Iran.

Lawmakers reach deal on bipartisan commission to investigate Jan. 6

Speaker Pelosi outside the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House negotiators have reached an agreement on the parameters of a 9/11-style commission to investigate the "facts and circumstances" surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the House Homeland Security Committee announced Friday.

Why it matters: The formation of a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission had been delayed for months, after some Republicans insisted that the scope of the investigation be expanded to include violence by far-left protesters last summer.