IRANIAN authorities blocked internet access on January 14, with pressure continuing to mount on the theocratic regime as student protests calling for a new revolution swept the country.
According to the internet-tracking organisation NetBlocks, Iran experienced an outage at 5.25pm local time with “high impact to almost all providers” for a duration of 10 minutes.
The government was previously accused of blocking the internet as security services moved against protesters during demonstrations in November.
Some reports claim that unnamed government officials admitted that at least 1500 people were killed during those huge anti-government protests.
Authorities opened fire on crowds with tear gas and live bullets as protests swelled in anger at the government’s admission it shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet on January 8, killing all 176 on board.
Iran’s Judiciary spokesperson, Gholamhossein Esmaili, said “some individuals” had been arrested regarding the incident after “extensive investigations”.
His statement did not say how many people had been detained nor name those arrested, and failed to quell anti-government protests which took place in several universities across the country.
Students at Tehran University clashed with security forces as they locked them in to prevent them marching on the streets.
Crowds branded Ayatollah Khameini “a disgrace” at a campus gathering.
In a defiant moment they pressed demands for regime change and the overthrow of the Iranian theocracy.
“From Iran to Baghdad, poverty, cruelty and tyranny. From Tehran to Baghdad we want revolution.”
“Whether November or January, the message is revolution. Whether November or January, we will fight on the streets,” they chanted.
Students also chanted “We’ll fight back” and “Our hands are empty, put your batons away” as they tried to force their way out.
Cries of “Death to the dictator” and “Death to Khamenei” where heard coming from a group that made it onto the streets.
At Beheshti University students rallied against a regime-organised gathering and took aim at the Basij — an auxiliary force of the Revolutionary Guard, used to suppress dissident gatherings.
“Basiji you should be ashamed … Where has all the oil money gone? It’s been used for the Basij!” they chanted.
A protest at Amirkabir University heard students chant “you are our Isis”, addressing the regime and Basij forces.
Some are suggesting the Ukrainian plane incident could be a comparable moment to the 1978 Cinema Rex fire in a working-class district of Abadan, which was blamed on the Shah and is credited for setting in motion the 1979 revolution.
[Abridged from Morning Star online.]