WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Iranians on Thursday to send photos and other information documenting repression amid ongoing protests, while vowing to sanction “abuses” by the Islamic republic.
Demonstrations erupted in sanctions-hit Iran last Friday, hours after the price of gasoline spiked by as much as 200 percent.
Unrest spread to scores of urban centers, during which protesters attacked police stations, torched petrol pumps and looted shops.
“I have asked the Iranian protesters to send us their videos, photos and information documenting the regime’s crackdown on protesters,” Pompeo tweeted.
“The US will expose and sanction the abuses,” he added.
A near-total internet shutdown has made obtaining information on bloodshed difficult. Officials have confirmed five deaths, but Amnesty International has said the real death toll could be well over 100.
Authorities have said the internet may be entirely restored soon, suggesting Iran’s government put down the demonstrations.
The Revolutionary Guards’ official website praised the armed forces for taking “timely action” against “rioters” and suggested that calm had been restored.
Earlier Thursday US President Donald Trump accused Iran of blocking the internet to cover up “death and tragedy.”
“Iran has become so unstable that the regime has shut down their entire Internet System so that the Great Iranian people cannot talk about the tremendous violence taking place within the country,” Trump tweeted.
AP contributed to this report.