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Iran cuts internet during, and after, protests

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

As protests over gas prices erupted last weekend, Iranian officials cut the nation's access to the internet. On Wednesday, according to state media, the government declared victory over the protests. Yet the internet has only begun to trickle back online.

Why it matters: Keeping the internet off prevented global reporting of police abuses and prevents domestic coordination between protestors, Adrian Shahbaz of the human rights group Freedom House told Axios.

  • Freedom House recently listed the use of internet shutdowns to quell government opposition as a key threat to internet freedom in its Freedom on the Net report.

While reporting is spotty, largely because of the internet shutdown, Shahbaz said he has spoken with Iranians, who confirmed that the nation shut down its global internet connections, but left some access to national, internal sites.

As of Thursday morning on the U.S. East Coast, internet connectivity in Iran was only at 10% of its typical levels, according to connectivity monitor NetBlocks. That's up from 5% during the height of the protests.

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