After an increase in the price of gas by 300%, Iran has experienced widespread protests for five days, in which between 100 and 200 deaths are reported, according to Amnesty International. But the figure is not easy to confirm because the Iranian government has cut all internet communication in the country.
A digital blackout
These actions to limit the internet are already considered the biggest block of information ever experienced in Iran (80 million citizens now do not have access to the internet), and after a few days of protests and extreme violence, the government decided to limit it so that protesters stop uploading videos and other content that evidenced the actions.
Only a few videos managed to get to the West, so organizations can only estimate the death toll. Within the limited content, it can be seen how protesters set fire to gas stations, government buildings, and banks. It is also heard how citizens ask that Ali Khamenei, the leader of the nation, to resign.
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Another organization that spoke up was the United Nations, who asked the government of Iran to eliminate the blockade of the internet.
— Rana Rahimpour (@ranarahimpour) November 19, 2019
Given all this, the Iranian government responded by stating that the death toll is only 12 people between protesters and police. International organizations find this difficult to believe, especially with the material they managed to review where clashes with firearms are seen.
A political problem
Amid this volatile situation, the United States government spoke in support of protests in Iran. Secretary Pompeo has said, “the proud Iranian people will not remain silent in the face of government abuses”.
In the same statement, the secretary said that these protests are simple consequences of what he described as tyranny in Iran, where all the wealth has been distributed to the high government offices while neglecting the citizens.
From Iran, the response was swift, since the country’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, blamed the United States for what is happening in the nation saying that the different economic sanctions on Iran are the cause of the misery of the citizens.