US President Donald Trump on Thursday accused Iran’s government of shutting down internet access to cover up “death and tragedy” during a wave of street protests.
“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.
“They want ZERO transparency, thinking the world will not find out the death and tragedy that the Iranian Regime is causing!” he wrote.
Meanwhile Germany also condemned Iranian security forces for using excessive force.
“We are shocked by reports of the deaths of more than 100 victims, and condemn the disproportionate action by Iranian security forces. The right to peaceful protest must be respected,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman said in a statement.
“We call on the Iranian security forces to exercise the greatest possible restraint,” she added.
Demonstrations erupted in sanctions-hit Iran last Friday, hours after the price of gasoline was raised by as much as 200 percent, and unrest spread to scores of urban centers.
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….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2019
Iran’s government is under massive international pressure and economic sanctions led by Washington over Tehran’s nuclear program.
London-based rights group Amnesty International said more than 100 demonstrators were believed to have been killed and that the real toll could be as high as 200.
It said video footage showed that “snipers have also shot into crowds of people from rooftops and, in one case, a helicopter.”
Security forces had been seen taking away dead bodies and injured people from roads and hospitals, according to witnesses, and refused to hand over bodies of victims to their families, Amnesty said.
The full extent of the bloodshed was difficult to ascertain given the internet restrictions.
The Iranian government said earlier this week that it will unblock the internet only when authorities are sure it will not be abused during violent demonstrations.
“Many professions and banks… have faced problems, and we have been trying to solve this,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei said, quoted by semi-official news agency ISNA.
“The internet will come back gradually in some provinces where there are assurances the internet will not be abused,” he said.
“We understand that people have faced difficulties… but the bigger concern under the current circumstances is maintaining the country’s peace and stability.”