Iran Internet Services Disrupted Amid Weeklong Water-Shortage Protests.

Severe disruptions of Internet services are being reported in Iran a week into protests over water shortages that has seen at least three people killed.

Netblocks, a web-outage monitor, attributed part of the disruption to "state information controls or targeted Internet shutdowns."

It identified the outages as beginning on July 15, when the protests started in the southwestern province of Khuzestan. As of July 21 the outages were still being reported, it said.

Iran has tightened its control over the Internet in recent years in an effort to limits street protesters' ability to communicate and spread videos of the demonstrations.

According to NetBlocks, its analysis and user reports were "consistent with a regional Internet shutdown intended to control protests."

The effects represents "a near-total Internet shutdown that is likely to limit the public's ability to express political discontent or communicate with each other and the outside world," it added.

Iran is facing its worst drought in at least 50 years, a natural event exacerbated by poor water management that has hit agriculture and left dams with little water supply. Parts of the country have also experienced weeks of electricity blackouts.

The protests also come as Iran struggles through another wave of the coronavirus pandemic and the economy suffers under U.S. sanctions. Thousands of workers in its oil industry have launched strikes for better wages and conditions.

In the latest wave of demonstrations, protesters took to the streets of a number of cities and towns in oil-rich Khuzestan, including in the provincial capital, Ahvaz, before spreading to other provinces.

Video posted on social media purportedly showed street protests taking place late on July 21 in the western province of Kermanshah, as well as Isfahan in the center and Bushehr to the south.

There have been gatherings in support for the Khuzestan protesters in Tehran, while actors, athletes, activists, as well as a number of Iranian labor unions and associations also called attention to the demonstrations .

Clips shared on social media in recent days showed demonstrators blocking roads and chanting slogans against the country's theocratic government and its head, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as security forces try to disperse crowds with tear gas. In some videos, what appears to be the sound of gunfire can be heard.

Officials so far have confirmed the death of two young demonstrators in the protests that broke out on July 15, but unofficial reports put that number at five.

Human rights groups say the two were killed by security forces, an accusation rejected by the local government.

Iranian officials in the past have blamed protesters for deaths occurring during heavy-handed crackdowns by security forces.

In comments aired by state television on July 22, outgoing President Hassan Rohani said that "people who are living in 50 degrees Celsius with water-shortage problems have a natural right to speak out and protest."

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price told journalists that Washington was following closely reports that Iranian security forces fired on protesters.

"We support the rights of Iranians to peacefully assemble and express themselves...without fear of violence, without fear of arbitrary detention by security forces," he said.

With reporting by AP and RFE/RL's Radio Farda

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Belarus Shuts Down More NGOs Amid Continued Crackdown.

Belarus Shuts Down More NGOs Amid Continued Crackdown.

Belarus has forced the closure of 15 more nongovernmental organizations as strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka's crackdown against pro-democracy activists, the independent media, and civil rights groups continues to intensify.

Radio Free Europe

Jailed Journalist Safronov Decries Russia's 'Spy-Making' System.

Jailed Journalist Safronov Decries Russia's 'Spy-Making' System.

Jailed former Russian journalist Ivan Safronov, who is charged with high treason, has slammed state authorities, including the judiciary, for their treatment of suspects and methods used in investigating espionage amid a wave of cases aimed at muz...

Radio Free Europe

Gutfeld: Our government created artificial danger

Gutfeld: Our government created artificial danger

'Gutfeld!' panel discusses the double standard in prosecuting criminals based on their political affiliation #Gutfeld #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-e...

Police fire tear gas & water cannon anti-vax protesters in Greece.

Police fire tear gas & water cannon anti-vax protesters in Greece.

Protesters and police clashed outside Athens parliament on Wednesday during a rally against coronavirus vaccinations. Demonstrators and officers could be seen exchanging blows before police sent volleys of tear gas into the crowd of about 1,500 pe...

Deadly flooding paralyzes Henan province in China - DW News.

Deadly flooding paralyzes Henan province in China - DW News.

At least 33 people have been killed in the severe flooding in central China's province of Henan, and more than 100,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. With more rain on the way, there are fears that the situation may get worse. Subscr...

Pollution Concerns In Florida Grow Over Return Of Big Cruise Ships.

Pollution Concerns In Florida Grow Over Return Of Big Cruise Ships.

Water around the Florida coast has been cleaner during the Covid-19 pandemic as a result of minimal pollution. NBC News' Josh Lederman takes an in-depth look to see what the cause might be. » Subscribe to MSNBC: MSNBC delivers breaking news, in-de...

Cuban Catholics feel 'betrayed' by the Pope: Rachel Campos-Duffy.

Cuban Catholics feel 'betrayed' by the Pope: Rachel Campos-Duffy.

'Fox & Friends Weekend' co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy says the Pope's response to the consequences of communism is 'weak and next to nothing.' Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a...

This Morning’s Top Headlines – July 22 - Morning News NOW.

This Morning’s Top Headlines – July 22 - Morning News NOW.

A Covid-19 "swat team" is deployed in Las Vegas to battle the rapidly spreading Delta variant, first lady Jill Biden arrives in Tokyo for the long-delayed 2020 Olympics, and an Arkansas judge blocks the state's ban on gender-affirming care for tra...