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Iran Is Offline and There’s Not Much We Can Do About It



Photo of a gas station that was burned in Iran
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On Nov. 15, the government in Tehran raised prices for gasoline — setting off a wave of protests that has yet to subside. The unrest has become so intense that the authorities decided to cut off the entire country from the Internet. That’s made it much more difficult for Iranians to communicate with the outside world — and vice versa.
Group conversations on WhatsApp, Telegram and other messaging apps are frozen in time. Foreign emails sent to friends inside the country go undelivered. Iranian Instagram — a vital domain for the self-expression of ordinary Iranians — has no new images. And tweets in Persian that claim to originate from Iran are being sent either from fake accounts and bots outside the country or from the small number of people who still have access to the Internet (among them, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei).

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