Stakes turn deadly as Iran’s government threatens the phone apps aiding protesters

Oct 1, 20220 comments

Originally published on Coda Story on October 1, 2022.


Firuzeh Mahmoudi is rubbing her temples. Speaking on a video call from her home in San Francisco, she seems tired, drained. “Things are not getting better, Iran is not doing great,” she says.

It’s September 23, four days after the Iranian government shut down the internet in the northern Kurdish city of Sanandaj. Not long after Mahmoudi and I spoke, the Iranian government blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp (estimated to be used by 70% of Iranian adults) and shut down the internet for hours each day so that even basic communication, let alone work, became almost impossible.

The internet disruptions followed several days of nationwide, anti-government protests in response to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while she was in the custody of Iran’s vicious and widely reviled morality police.

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