Iran Cracks Down on Internet Access After President's Fatal Crash

Monday, 05/27/2024

Iran has continued internet crackdowns in the wake of the death of President Ebrahim Raisi as the country is now plunged into a leadership crisis with many Iranians celebrating the death openly online.

Monitoring data from Cloudflare reveals that Iran’s Ministry of Communications imposed restrictions at 19:10 local time on May 19, shortly after the news of the helicopter crash that killed the president and his delegation was reported.

Writing on X, Iranian cybersecurity expert Nariman Gharib compared the current state of internet access in Iran to previous periods during Iran's protests when internet access was at its most restricted. He said the situation has worsened since Friday amid a domestic leadership crisis in which snap elections have been called for June 28.

Criticism of the crackdown has come from all corners, including Iran-based conservative website Tabnak, which described Iran's internet over the past week as “almost intranet”.

Internet crackdowns have become a standard tool for the government to quash dissent over the years. Assessments by Iran-based digital rights group Filterbaan suggest that the ongoing disruptions result from government policies aimed at deliberately not developing external bandwidth in proportion to user expansion, along with a policy to repeatedly increase internet prices.

It is believed to be part of a broader strategy, Filterbaan says, to establish a comprehensive national information network that forces users to rely on domestic platforms while restricting access to VPNs which have been widely used to bypass bans on the likes of global social media platforms in Iran.

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