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Tue, 28 Jan 2020 17:21 GMT

US Working to Help Iranians Bypass Internet Shutdown


Sally ElShorbagy

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 23:49 GMT

Washington's envoy for Iran Brian Hook stated on Tuesday November 19th that the United States is working to help Iranians bypass a near-total Internet shutdown amid violent protests over a sharp hike in gasoline prices.

The United States is trying to put in place "workarounds" to help Iranians access the global Internet. Hook accused the Iranian leaders of hypocrisy for using social media while depriving millions of Iranians access to the internet.

"We think that's going to help some people connect to the Internet so that they can continue getting out their videos [of the protests]," Hook continued.

He added that the United States had taken "a number of steps" in the past 18 months to help Iranians bypass Internet censorship.

"We have been able to get into the hands of the Iranian people circumvention tools that allow them to communicate with each other when the regime tries to censor them," he said.

"The supreme leader, the president, and the foreign minister continue to use social media and they use the Internet to get out their message, but they don't let the Iranian people get out the truth," Hook added.

The White House on November 17th condemned "the lethal force and severe communications restrictions used against demonstrators" and said it supported "the Iranian people in their peaceful protests."

"The United States supports the Iranian people in their peaceful protests against the regime that is supposed to lead them," White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

In a similar vein, Dr Majid Sadeghpour, a human rights activist and the political director for Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC), urged the US Congress members to support the Iranian people in their on-going uprising in an exclusive interview with 7DNews.

“There is an uprising in over 130 cities across Iran. Iranian people were being literally slaughtered in major cities like Tabriz, Tehran, and Isfahan,” he said.

“There is a martial law across the country. The regime tried to oppress the protests in Shiraz city by air cover, and they become bloodier by the day.”

Tech companies helped the Iranian regime cut off the internet, leaving the Iranian people unable to let the world know that there is a massacre in their streets.

The state-run Telecommunications Company of Iran (TIC) began the process of blocking internet traffic to prevent citizens from organising protests and sharing pictures and videos of the demonstrations with the outside world.

“We want the congress members ask their administration to make the internet available for the people of Iran," he asserted.

He continued that the internet shutdown is a way for oppressors to silence the protestors, affirming that the social media and internet have played a vital role in uprisings in Iraq and Lebanon.

Due to lack of news on Iran’s uprising, he asked the world community to follow the hashtag #Iran_protest on Twitter, which shows live videos about the resistance movements of Iran led by Maryam Rajavi.

Meanwhile, live ammunitions are being used against unarmed civilians in the streets. Security forces are also striking hospitals, taking the injured to detention centres.

“Over 200 people have died, and a few thousands have been arrested and taken to unknown detentions centres. It is important to the international community right now to show the immediate support for the people of Iran” Sadeghpour added.

Sadeghpour concluded his interview to 7Dnews by saying that the Iranian people want the oppressive regime to step down.

Earlier, the National Council of Resistance of Iran represented by the opposition People's Mujahedeen Organization appealed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations to convene an emergency meeting of the Security Council to discuss the suppression of protesters by the forces of the Iranian regime.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran, led by Maryam Rajavi, claimed that the number of wounded gasoline protesters amounted to at least 3,000 people.

At least 106 demonstrators have been killed across 21 cities during protests in Iran as a result of public rejection of the increase in fuel prices, according to Amnesty International.

Protests in Iran entered their fifth day amid new deaths by security forces. Youths have been seen setting fire to several government banks in the city of Shiraz, which is the main stronghold of the demonstrations.

Contributed by Amr Gohar

Middle East US & Canada