The Iranian government has imposed a near-total Internet shutdown as nationwide protests continue over the death of a 22-year-old woman after she was detained by the country’s morality police.
NetBlocks, a London-based Internet observatory group, said Iran was now subject to the most severe Internet restrictions since violent November 2019 protests over the sudden rise in the price of gasoline.
Several social-media users reported on September 21 that the government had blocked Instagram and WhatsApp.
NetBlocks has also confirmed the widespread disruption of access to WhatsApp in Iran.
Iranian authorities already block tens of thousands of websites and regularly throttle or cut Internet connectivity during crucial periods, including a near-total shutdown for almost a week during the 2019 protests.
International social-media platforms are subject to regular blocking in Iran, and journalists and others rely on virtual personal networks( VPNs) to circumvent the restrictions and access services like Telegram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
The blocking of Instagram, which was the only important social network available to Iranian users, occurred as anti-government protests triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was taken into police custody for allegedly breaking rules on head covering entered their fifth day.
The protests have expanded to as many as 80 cities in Iran, with at least nine deaths confirmed by various sources.