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Iran protests: Two killed, government limits social media

By
Daniel Uria
Iran restricted access to several social media apps Sunday as two people were killed in ongoing anti-government protests. Photo by STR/EPA
Iran restricted access to several social media apps Sunday as two people were killed in ongoing anti-government protests. Photo by STR/EPA

Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Two people were killed and Iran's government limited access to various social media applications as anti-government protests in the country entered their fourth day on Sunday.

Habibollah Khojastehpour, the deputy governor of Iran's Lorestan, said two people were killed during protests in Doroud city on Saturday, according to semi-official news agency Mehr News.

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"Clashes occurred with individuals who had taken to the streets, heeding calls by the enemies of the system," Khojastehpour said.

Two protesters were also shot according to video and social media reports on Saturday, but their conditions weren't reported.

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Iran's government limited access Sunday to social media applications such as Instagram and the messaging app Telegram, which have been used to organize protests.

"Iranian authorities are blocking access to Telegram for the majority of Iranians after our public refusal to shut down... peacefully protesting channels," Telegram CEO Pavel Durov wrote on Twitter.

Iranian Interior Minister Rahmani Fazli had earlier warned that protesters will "pay the price" after the protests became deadly, adding some individuals "are causing violence and fear" by misusing social media and such behavior will be smashed."

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U.S. President Donald Trump, who had previously said "the world is watching" the situation in Iran again offered support on Twitter for "big protests" in the country.

"The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism. Looks like they will not take it any longer," he wrote. "The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!"

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi had dismissed Trump's previous statements regarding the protests as "hypocritical" and "opportunistic claims."

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