Financial Tribune – Following nationwide protests over the overnight fuel price hike of 200%, Iranian authorities cut off the internet as of Saturday.
Asked by ICANA, the Iranian Parliament’s news outlet, about “internet disruptions”, ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said, “This is not disruption. The internet has been cut off. The Supreme National Security Council has ordered the shutdown.”
Hardliner politicians want the ban to remain in place and call for the launch of a “national internet”.
Commenting on the proposal, Jahromi said, “There is no such thing as ‘national internet’; this concept is a caricature.”
He is hopeful that with the political environment becoming calm, internet service providers would be allowed to offer normal services.
The blackout has disrupted daily life in Iran, as internet and online services have become an integral part of Iranians’ life. Thousands employed in the startup ecosystem rely on the internet for making a living. And many basic services from shopping to transportation are tied to it.
Netblocks.org reports that the internet shutdown costs Iran $369.5 million each day or $15.4 million per hour.
The recent protests, some of which turned violent and deadly, erupted after the government announced the sudden hike in fuel prices. Private car owners can buy 60 liters of subsidized gasoline per month with a fuel card at 15,000 rials (13 cents) per liter, up 50%. Additional purchases will cost 30,000 rials (26 cents) per liter, up 200%.