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Iran blocks internet access, dozens reported dead as Amini protests grow

People gather during a protest for Mahsa Amini, who died after being arrested by morality police allegedly not complying with strict dress code in Tehran, Iran on September 19, 2022 [ Stringer - Anadolu Agency]
People gather during a protest for Mahsa Amini, who died after being arrested by morality police allegedly not complying with strict dress code in Tehran, Iran on September 19, 2022 [ Stringer - Anadolu Agency]

The Iranian authorities have shut off the internet in parts of Tehran and Kurdistan, and blocked access to social media platforms such as Instagram and WhatsApp, while dozens are reportedly dead as protests over the death of a young woman in the custody of the so-called morality police continue for the sixth day in a row.

Last week, Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old from Iranian Kurdistan died soon after being arrested in Tehran for "unsuitable attire" by the morality police.

Her death unleashed popular anger, which was concentrated in Iran's Kurdish-populated northwestern regions but soon spread to at least 50 cities and towns nationwide.

The latest toll published by state television on Thursday indicated that 17 people have been killed since the protests erupted, including demonstrators and policemen, however, the Oslo- based Iran Human Rights organisation said the death toll is 31.

READ: US sanctions Iran's Morality Police in wake of Mahsa Amini's death

Protesters in Tehran and several Iranian cities set fire to two police stations and vehicles.

For its part, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard called on the country's judicial authority to prosecute "those who spread false news and rumours" on social media as well as in the street and who endanger the "psychological safety of society" and "to deal with them decisively."

Earlier on Thursday, the United States announced a new patch of economic sanctions on the Iranian morality police and several security officials, citing "violence against the demonstrators," as well as Amini's death.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the sanctions target Iran's morality police and senior Iranian security officials responsible for crackdown on protesters and "demonstrate the Biden administration's clear commitment… to defending human rights, and women's rights in Iran and the world."

READ: Iran president: Israel's 'savagery is not ending'

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