US urges Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to suspend Iranian accounts

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The US State Department has urged Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to suspend the accounts of Iranian leaders until the Internet service in Iran, which is tense, returns.

The Iranians were cut off from the world more than a week ago after the network was almost completely blocked by Tehran authorities amid violent protests.

“It’s a very hypocritical system. It cuts off the Internet while the government continues to use its social media accounts,” Brian Hawk, the US envoy to Iran, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“We call on social media companies such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to suspend the accounts of Supreme Leader (Ali) Khamenei, Foreign Minister (Javad) Zarif and President (Hassan) Rouhani so that they can restore Internet service to their people.”

Unrest erupted on November 15, hours after announcing a reform of the way gasoline subsidies were designed to target poorer families. But the move was accompanied by a dramatic increase in the price of gasoline amid a deep economic crisis.

The day after the Iranians were cut off from the world after tightening access to the Internet, which was seen as a way to prevent the spread of videos of unrest that left five people dead according to an official toll, and more than 100 people according to Amnesty International.

“The regime has cut off the Internet because it is trying to hide the deaths and tragedies it has caused to thousands of demonstrators in the country,” Hawk said.

On Friday, Washington imposed sanctions against Iranian Communications Minister Mohammad Javad Azeri Jahromi for his role in censoring the Internet.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday called on Iranian demonstrators to send every proof of “repression” from the Iranian authorities to the United States, saying they would be punished for the abuses.

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