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Internet Blackout in Iran Threatens 400,000 Professions, Risks Unemployment of 1 Million Iranians

Internet Blackout in Iran Threatens 400,000 Professions, Risks Unemployment of 1 Million Iranians

Friday, 30 September, 2022 - 09:30
Demonstrators throw stones at riot police in central Tehran in September 2022. (AP)

The E-Commerce Association in Tehran warned Thursday of a new collapse in the labor market.

It said that 400,000 Iranian businesses were at risk of going bust and one million people will likely lose their jobs as a result of the internet blackout.

The Association issued a statement on its Instagram page stressing that blocking social media networks, confronting internet users, as well as dozens of other wrong decisions are prompting a wave of resentment among workers in companies and institutions active in the field of technology, noting that some of these workers went on strike.

“Cutting access to Instagram [for instance] has put more than 400,000 businesses at risk of obliteration and has caused serious problems for the livelihoods of more than a million people,” the statement explained.

Web monitor NetBlocks and Iranian sources said authorities restricted access to the internet in several provinces to limit the flow of information and the posting of videos on social media platforms.

The watchdog said that the internet shutdown costs Iran $1.5 million per hour.

Iran restricted access to Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Skype, Google Play, Apple Store and Microsoft amid protests over the death of a woman in police custody.

Iran’s Communications Minister Issa Zarepour hinted at the possibility of blocking WhatsApp and Instagram applications for good.

He told reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting that some US social media platforms have become incubators for riots, prompting the government to impose restrictions.

“Restrictions will continue as long as the protests go on,” Zarepour stressed, calling on Iranians not to organize their activities in environments that do not comply with Iran’s laws and regulations.

“It’s still not an internet shutdown, and it’s hard to even describe what they are doing to the network as shutdowns. Perhaps extreme throttling is the best simple term for it,” said the Iran researcher for freedom of expression group Article 19, Mahsa Alimardani.

“But the disruptions are heavy,” she told AFP, saying disconnections were hitting a peak from late afternoon to midnight when most protests take place.

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