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Internet services disrupted again in Iran

August 2, 2022 at 1:50 pm

Iranian flags fly along the highway on June 3, 2014 in Natanz, Iran [John Moore/Getty Images]

The Iranian capital, Tehran, witnessed on Monday a major disruption in internet services, the second in less than a week after a similar incident occurred in the Iranian capital and other parts of the country, Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported on Monday.

Iran’s Telecommunication Company announced that the widespread disruption was caused by a fire that broke out in one of the infrastructure facilities, noting that the company is working to restore service.

A few days ago, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology had blamed power fluctuations and out-of-date infrastructure at the country’s Electricity Distribution Company for the issue, a claim that the power company denied.

Despite these announcements, Iranian social media users fear the outages are politically motivated.

The Iranian Parliament is reviewing a Bill which would allow the authorities to impose stricter control over the Internet. The law was due to be passed last year; however, popular protests across the country have left it on hold.

Under the new law, the Internet will be nationalised, which effectively means creating Iranian alternatives to popular foreign electronic services.

Supporters of the new law say it is necessary to improve oversight over social media and messaging platforms. However, critics fear many global platforms will cease to function and all Internet users will be monitored, while all private network applications used by Iranians to bypass censorship and access banned websites will be blocked.

During major protests, local authorities have repeatedly tightened censorship over internet services to prevent protesters from communicating with each other.

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