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What is happening internet in iran, mahsa amini cause of death #mahsaamini

Young Iranians are standing up to decades of repression, and they may be more brave than ever.

As protests over the death of a young woman in the custody of the morality police shake the Islamic Republic, the government says it will limit access to the internet until the streets are quiet again.

Since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last week, thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets to protest. Amini was arrested in Tehran and sent to a "re-education center" for not wearing her hijab correctly, which is why she is thought to have died there.

Since Friday, there have been protests in at least 40 cities across the country, including Tehran, the capital. Protesters are calling for an end to violence and discrimination against women, as well as an end to the requirement that women wear the hijab.

Reports say that dozens of protesters have been killed in fights with security forces.

CNN can't independently confirm the number of deaths because no one outside of the Iranian government can confirm a precise number. Opposition groups, international rights groups, and local journalists have all given different estimates. Amnesty International said on Friday that at least 30 people had died, including four children. The state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting said that 35 people had died.

What is happening internet in iran, mahsa amini cause of death #mahsaamini
On September 21, 2022, in Tehran, people light a fire to protest the death of Mahsa Amini

Decades of being put down

By limiting access to the internet, the government hopes to stop the protests, which are the latest in a series that have been happening in Iran for years. They started with the Green Movement in 2009 over disputed election results and continued with protests in 2019 over higher gas prices. Estimates from the UN and rights groups say that hundreds of people were killed and thousands were hurt in the violent crackdown three years ago.

But the protests this year are different in their size, scope, and the fact that they are feminist for the first time. There are also efforts to bring people together from all walks of life. Young Iranians are taking to the streets to protest decades of repression, and they may be more brave than ever.

The protests have spread to dozens of cities in Iran, from the Kurdish area in the northwest to the capital Tehran and even to cities like Mashhad that are known for being very conservative.

Even though they started because of Amini's death, the initial calls for accountability have turned into calls for more rights and freedoms, especially for women, who have been treated unfairly and had their rights severely limited since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

But there are also more calls for a change in government. People all over the country are tearing down portraits of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and yelling, "Death to the dictator!" This is a reference to the Supreme Leader. On Friday night, shocking pictures came out of the city of Mashhad, where Khamenei was born. There, protesters set fire to a statue of a man who is seen as a symbol of the Islamic Revolution. In the past, such things would never have happened.

All of this is happening as talks to revive the stalled 2015 nuclear agreement and the state of the economy under US sanctions put more pressure on Iran's hardline leadership. At the same time, ordinary Iranians are struggling to deal with rising inflation.

Analysts think that the government will likely try to stop the protests by using the same harsh methods it has used in the past. This is the biggest problem the government has had in years. There are signs of a harsh crackdown coming, as well as restrictions on the internet that haven't been seen since 2019. The government is also gathering its supporters for large rallies after Friday prayers, calling the protesters "rioters" and "foreign agents," and issuing ominous warnings that the army and the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps will be sent to deal with the protests.

Iran's Minister of Communications, Ahmad Vahidi, told IRIB, the state-run news station, on Friday, "As long as the riots are going on, there will be limits on the internet. We have to put limits on the internet so that people can't organize riots through social media."

Vahidi's comments came after videos posted on social media showed women taking off and burning their headscarves and protesters chanting things like "women, life, freedom."

The move to limit the internet even more came after the UN asked for an independent investigation into Amini's death and for Iran's security forces to stop using "disproportionate force" against the protesters.

People are angry about Amini's death because they don't believe what state officials say about how she died. They say she died after having a "heart attack" and going into a coma. But Amini's family has said that she did not have a heart condition before she died.

Amini's death has become a symbol of how violently women have been treated in Iran for decades. Her name has spread all over the world, and this week, world leaders brought her up at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

On Thursday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that UN experts strongly disagreed with the Iranian government's use of physical violence against women.

"The Iranian government said that Amini died of a heart attack and that it was a natural death. But some reports said that Amini's death was caused by torture and other bad treatment, "In a statement, it said.

"We call on the Iranian government to investigate Ms. Amini's death quickly, independently, and in a fair way," the statement said. "The results of the investigation should be made public, and those responsible should be held to account."

Stopping the Internet

As the protests continue, Netblocks, a company that keeps an eye on the internet, said on Friday that Iranians are facing a third wave of "nationwide" loss of mobile internet access.

The watchdog group said earlier this week that Iran had the most severe internet restrictions since 2019 because mobile networks were mostly shut down and Instagram and WhatsApp were not allowed in the country.

Iranians inside the country and in the diaspora are using popular Virtual Private Network (VPN) services like Tor Project and Hula VPN to get around internet blocks. These are the most downloaded apps in Iran from Google Play Store, an app store for Android phones, according to the monitoring service AppBrain.

But Netblocks has warned that the kind of internet problems that are happening in the country right now "cannot usually be avoided by using circumvention software or VPNs."

Similar restrictions were put in place in Iran in November 2019, cutting off almost all Iranians from the internet. This was done to stop nationwide protests over fuel prices from spreading.

At the time, Oracle's Internet Intelligence called it the "largest shutdown of the internet ever seen in Iran."

The activist hacker group Anonymous has also been going after the Iranian government online over the past week. On Thursday, they announced that they had broken into several government websites.

Using the hashtag #OpIran, which stands for "Operation Iran" and became popular on social media after Amini's death, Anonymous tweeted on Thursday that the group had hacked more than 1,000 CCTV cameras in Iran. CNN has not been able to independently confirm this claim.

The UN wants to look into it.

UN Secretary General António Guterres said on Friday that he was "worried" about reports that police had responded to peaceful protests with too much force, causing dozens of deaths and injuries.

Dujarric said at the daily briefing on UNTV, "We ask the security forces not to use unnecessary or disproportionate force, and we ask everyone to be calm so that the situation doesn't get worse."

The UN said it is closely watching the protests in Iran and asked the government to "respect the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association."

"We also ask the government to respect the rights of women, end all forms of discrimination against women and girls, and take effective steps to protect them from other violations of human rights, in line with international standards."

Guterres repeated a call from the Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights for a "independent competent authority" to look into Amini's death as soon as possible.

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