Iran’s internet access gradually resumes after protest blackout

Al-Monitor – After four days of a near complete internet blackout, Iranian authorities have begun to restore internet connectivity to the country. According to Fars News Agency, the resumption of internet access is being done “gradually” and “province by province.” According to the Fars report, Hormozgan, Arak, Kermanshah, Mashhad, Qom, Tabriz, Hamedan, Bushehr and parts of Tehran are being reconnected.

Public acces to the internet was cut off after protests erupted over the government’s Nov. 15 announcement regarding fuel subsidy cuts. According to NetBlocks, which tracks disruptions and blocking of internet access, Iran’s internet use was around 5% of normal levels since the blackout began four days ago. As is often the case with national security matters, the decision to cut off the internet was made by Supreme National Security Council. While information has been slow to come out of Iran since the blocking began, according to Amnesty International, over 100 people have been killed as a result of the protests.

Abulhassan Firouzabadi, Secretary of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, said in a Nov. 21 speech that internet access would soon be fully restored in the country but also stressed the need for a “national internet” in order to avoid the authorities being forced to bring internet traffic in the country to a near halt again. “We have to do something so that the losses are less,” Firouzabadi said. “If we had a national network in the country that was strong, these losses would be gradually less.”

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