Foreign agents blamed for death of two protesters

Chelsea West
January 1, 2018

In a tightly controlled media environment, much of the information about the demonstrations has emerged via social media, and platforms like Telegram and Instagram have been used extensively by protesters.

Iran state TV is reporting that authorities have blocked Instagram and the messaging app Telegram.

Demonstrators began taking to the streets on Thursday.

. The protests have since spread to major cities including the capital of Tehran.

Rouhani's main achievement, a 2015 deal with world powers that curbed Iran's nuclear program in return for a lifting of most worldwide sanctions, is yet to bring the economic benefits the government promised.

Social media has been exploited by protesters over other means of communication to share information about demonstrations owing to the country's tight media control.

Slogans such as "Death to the dictator" have been heard throughout the protests.

The protests moved from outer cities into Iran's capital city Tehran.

Travel restrictions have made it hard to confirm reports about the protests and postings on social media.

"Canada will continue to support the fundamental rights of Iranians, including the right to freedom of expression", the statement added.

The Mehr news agency reported Sunday that the two protesters were killed in Doroud, in Iran's Lorestan province.

One Iranian, who requested anonymity, told Reuters there was a heavy police presence in Tehran.

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On Sunday, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said on Twitter that authorities had cut off access to the app.

Thousands have been protesting across Iran against poverty and unemployment.

State media confirmed that both Instagram and Telegram had been blocked, and cited a source saying it was done as a safety measure.

Iranian Communications Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi had earlier accused channels like Amadnews of promoting "armed uprising and social unrest".

The authorities said security forces did not open fire on demonstrators, and blamed the deaths instead on Sunni Muslim extremists and foreign powers.

The largest protests to strike Iran in almost a decade continued unabated Sunday, despite a government move to block access to Instagram and a popular messaging app used by activists to organize, with even President Hassan Rouhani acknowledging the public's anger over the Islamic Republic's flagging economy. He added, however, that the demonstrations should not devolve into violence or anti-government chants.

US President Donald Trump weighed in on the unrest this weekend.

Shortly after his tweet, he posted videos of him adding to his thoughts saying, "The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change" and "oppressive regimes can not endure forever". "Oppressive regimes can not endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice. The world is watching!"

The protests have been the biggest show of dissent since huge rallies in 2009.

US President Donald Trump weighed in on the protests, saying "oppressive regimes can not endure forever". Looks like they will not take it any longer.

Iranians said the app is now inaccessible by mobile phone networks.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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