IRAN

Tehran blacks out in preparation for clashes

"Viewing this website is harmful for you". Image posted. The Iranian authorities are gearing up for expected disruptions at festivities to mark the anniversary of the Islamic revolution on Thursday. For several days now it has become increasingly difficult to access the Internet and send SMS messages in major cities. With no YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, it looks like any potential unrest tomorrow may be silenced by the blackout. Read more...

Advertising

"Viewing this website is harmful for you". Image posted here.

The Iranian authorities are gearing up for expected disruptions at festivities to mark the anniversary of the Islamic revolution on Thursday. For several days now it has become increasingly difficult to access the Internet and send SMS messages in major cities. With no YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, it looks like any potential unrest tomorrow may be silenced by the blackout.

Communications Minister Reza Taghipour said on Monday that the slow connection was caused by an undersea optic-fibre cable that runs across the Persian Gulf, which had been damaged due to shipping traffic and anchoring. Repairs, he said, would be dealt with by next week (the week begins on Saturday in Iran). Problems with SMS messaging, he said, were caused by "changing software". 

It seems that the blackout is part of a wide-ranging set of precautions being put in place by the authorities to prevent anti-government protesters from organising and communicating events on the 31st anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Nevertheless, the protesters are pledging to turn up and demonstrate despite the potential blackout. One blog has listed "Tips" for protesters, advising them to carry vinegar-soaked cloths for tear gas relief, medical kits, and rocks to throw at the police. Point seven says: "We must make it as difficult as possible for Ahmadinejad to give a speech on the main podium". Accessing this kind of online information from inside the country however seems almost impossible.

“The information block makes me feel like I’m in prison”

Hani (not her real name) is a student from Tehran. She wishes to remain anonymous. She spoke to us by phone (landline), this morning.

I can't access Twitter, Facebook, YouTube... The only websites available are either useless to us or state news agencies such as FARS.

Sending emails with an attachment such as a video or photo is impossible. You can just about email a photo by proxy [by adjusting browser proxy settings], but it only works one time out of two and is very slow. I can't even view videos, let alone upload or download them. So it's going to be very difficult tomorrow to get any images out of the country. I'm planning on going to the rally. But the information block makes me feel like I'm in prison."

“Most of the time we cannot even send or receive SMS messages”

Kian (not his real name) is a 22-year-old engineering student from Tehran. He sent us this video, filmed on Monday: