Iran censors social media following protests, Trump cries foul play

Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 01 Jan 2018

Iran censors social media following protests, Trump cries foul play

Tehran, Jan 1 (JEN): After four days of nationwide protest, which has rocked Iran, the national government has decided to put a cap on social media, to curb spread of news, reports said.

State-run IRIB reported on Sunday that the government has temporary blocked access to popular social media sites and apps such as Instagram and Telegram, which were used by several Iranians to spread the news of the protests.

Later that day, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani address the people of the country about the protests.

He said, "We are a free nation. And according to the constitution and citizen rights, the people are free to express their criticism and even their protests, but, criticism should not be accompanied with violence or vandalizing public property."

He also acknowledged the economic woes that the country is presently going through, which initially sparked off the demonstrations.

According to Iran's Interior Minister Rahmani Fazli, people who cause chaos will have to 'pay the price' for it.

"The events and occurrences of the last few days have preoccupied, saddened and hurt our beloved people. Those who destroy public properties, create chaos, lawlessness and insecurity in our society, will be held legally responsible and must answer for their behaviors and pay the price for it," he was quoted as saying by ILNA news agency.

Meanwhile, US President Doanld Trump, who had earlier warned Iran of their actions, said on Sunday, "Iran, the Number One State of Sponsored Terror with numerous violations of Human Rights occurring on an hourly basis, has now closed down the Internet so that peaceful demonstrators cannot communicate. Not good!"

Where did it begun?

It started in Mashhad, Iran's second most populous city and the capital of Razavi Khorasan Province.

What started as a small scale dissent by a group of people in Mashhad, on Thursday, soon spread to other cities too and later swept the nation.

Demonstrators took to the streets in the national capital Tehran, in Rasht, in the north, and Kermanshah, in the west.

Cities like Isfahan, Hamadan also witnessed anti-government sloganeering.

What are the demonstrators demanding?

According to a video circulated online, protesters are demanding a resignation from the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Slogans such as 'clerics act like God' were heard.

Protesters also blamed the government for rising prices in Iran and said that people have been 'forced to beg'.

Issues about Iran's constant meddling in other nation's interests were also brought up by demonstrators.

How did the government respond?

To curb the sting of the dissent, over 52 people were picked up by law enforcement officers, who accused the protesters of using harsh words against the country's President.

Meanwhile, First Vice-President of Iran, Eshaq Jahangiri said that the protests were of the opponent's making

According to state broadcaster IRIB, Jahangiri said, "Some incidents in the country these days are on the pretext of economic problems, but it seems there is something else behind them. They think by doing this they harm the government, but it will be others who ride the wave."

In addition, Iranian authorities also organised rallies, where thousands of pro-government demonstrators took part.

Image: Screengrab from YouTube