US Sanctions Iran’s Information Minister over Internet Blackout
100 Leaders of Petrol Hike Protest Arrested in Crackdown
The US Treasury slapped punitive sanctions on Iran’s communications minister, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Friday after the Tehran regime blocked internet communications amid violent protests triggered by a petrol price hike.
“We are sanctioning Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology for restricting internet access, including to popular messaging applications that help tens of millions of Iranians stay connected to each other and the outside world,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The sanction imposed on Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi would block, or “freeze”, any of his property under US jurisdiction, the Department of the Treasury said in a statement, adding that US regulations generally prohibit dealings by Americans, or those transiting the US, in such property.
The internet blockage, which Iran said on Thursday it had begun to roll back, made it difficult for protesters to post videos on social media to generate support and also to obtain reliable reports on the extent of the unrest. Amnesty International has said more than 100 people were killed in demonstrations.
Meanwhile, in Iran Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) as arrested about 100 leaders of the protests against a hike in petrol prices, the judiciary says.
They were identified and detained in “various parts of the country” by Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards.
“Approximately 100 leaders, heads and main figures of the recent unrest were identified and arrested in various parts of the country by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps,” Esmaili said.
A large number of people arrested who had taken part in the protests but did not take part in causing damage or setting fires have been released, judiciary spokesman Esmaili said, according to Mizan – the news site of the judiciary.
The announcement came as the US placed sanctions on Iran’s communications minister for restricting internet access during the unrest.
Amnesty International says more than 100 people were killed during the protests which hit several cities.