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In mass arrests, Iran detains eight accused of CIA ties

In this image, a man in a military uniform and hat stands at a podium with the words "Down with the USA" written on the side.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Hossein Salami at a pro-government demonstration on Nov. 25, 2019 in Tehran, Iran. Photo: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran says it has arrested over 500 people in the aftermath of protests over gas prices, AFP reports, and the regime claimed on late Wednesday that eight of those detained are linked to the CIA.

The big picture: Iran cut Internet access for the vast majority of the country earlier this month after protests erupted on Nov. 15. Human rights group Freedom House told Axios' Joe Uchill that the blackout prevented global reporting on Iranian police abuses and stifled coordination between protestors.

Driving the news: Iran accused eight detainees of trying to "collect information about the recent riots and send them out of the country" and said six of them were at "the riots and carrying out orders," Iran's state media reported late Wednesday.

  • Amnesty International believes violence from the protests has killed at least 143 people. Human Rights Watch has accused the Iranian government of "deliberately covering up" the scale of its crackdown against protestors.
  • Iranian authorities have not provided statistics on deaths or injuries from the protests, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The other side: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. had received "nearly 20,000 messages, videos, pictures, notes" of Iran's alleged abuses through the encrypted . messaging app Telegram as of Tuesday, AFP reports.

Go deeper: Iran cuts internet during, and after, protests