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Iranian students protest at Tehran University yesterday during a demonstration driven by anger over economic problems. Photo: AP

As pro-reform protests grow to tens of thousands and spread across Iran, the repressive, authoritarian government is warning of an "iron fist" response, and threatened access to social media:

Pavel Durov, the CEO of Telegram, a popular messaging app, tweeted: "Iranian authorities are blocking access to Telegram for the majority of Iranians after our public refusal to shut down ... peacefully protesting channels." Telegram then blocked one of its channels — amadnews — which was encouraging users to engage in violent protests and use Molotov cocktails against police officers.

  • The government said it also would temporarily restrict access Instagram. (Reuters)
  • Interior Minister Rahmani Fazli warned that what he called the misuse of social networks was "causing violence and fear," and that "such behavior will be smashed." (CNN)
  • Two demonstrators have been killed, and dozens arrested. (AFP)
  • The protests "began in the north-east as an outcry against economic hardship and rising prices, but turned political in many places, with slogans chanted against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Iran's interventionist foreign policy in the region." (BBC)

Why it matters, via CNN: "The largest public display of discontent in Iran since the 2009 Green Movement has brought ... a scene ... unfathomable a decade ago — protesters challenging the rule of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

Go deeper

Progressives call for swift Boebert punishment

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush (far right) walk through the Capitol last month. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

House progressives are seeking concrete punishment for Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) as retribution for her incendiary remarks against one of their own, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

Why it matters: House Democratic leaders continue to consider their options amid the latest ugly incident in their chamber. Republicans are already threatening retaliation after Democrats stripped Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her committee assignments and censured Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.).

4 hours ago - Health

Meta removes over 600 accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China

Facebook's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, California. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Meta announced Wednesday it has removed over 600 Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to a Chinese influence operation that claimed the U.S. was pressuring the World Health Organization (WHO) to blame COVID on China.

Why it matters: Though Meta said the network was unsuccessful, it marks yet another COVID disinformation campaign instigated by China in an effort to discredit the U.S.

Stacey Abrams launches second campaign for Georgia governor

Photo: Eze Amos/Getty Images

Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and former 2018 candidate for Georgia governor, is running for the position again in 2022. Abrams would be the first Black female governor in the country.

Why it matters: Abrams caught national attention in 2018 by narrowly losing an election to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in a state held firmly by the GOP for nearly two decades.