Access to internet in Iran may be disrupted due to “security reasons”, the minister of communications was quoted as saying on Wednesday by the semi-official ISNA news agency, amid widespread protests following the death of a young woman in police custody.
“Due to security issues and the debates going on currently in the country, restrictions to the internet may be decided and applied by the security apparatus, but overall we have not had any bandwidth reduction,” Issa Zarepour said.
Mahsa Amini, 22, from Iran’s Kurdistan province, fell into a coma and died while waiting with other women held by Iranian morality police, who enforce strict rules in the Islamic Republic requiring women to cover their hair and wear loose-fitting clothes in public.
Amini was arrested for “unsuitable attire” unleashed a flood of simmering anger over numerous issues including rights, security and an economy reeling from international sanctions.
Her father said she had no health problems and that she suffered bruises to her legs in custody and holds the police responsible for her death.
Her death has sparked popular unrest throughout Iran, during which at least three people have so far been killed.
It is some of Iran’s worst unrest since street clashes last year over water shortages. The Iranian government accuses foreign agents and unspecified terrorists of instigating the violence.
Demonstrations broke out in Kurdistan and spread on Monday and Tuesday to several other provinces in northwestern Iran.
Late on Tuesday state media reported “limited rallies” in several cities where it said demonstrators chanted anti-government slogans, threw rocks at police vehicles and damaged public property.
Videos posted on social media websites on Tuesday purported to show demonstrations in provinces across Iran, including several regions that had so far been untouched by the unrest.