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Inside Iran's crackdown on a week of protests

With the disruption of internet, it has become very difficult to get information about what is going on in Iran at the present time. NetBlocks Website, which reports on the state of the Internet in the world, reported that by the morning of Thursday, November 21th, the almost complete decoupling of Iran's Internet connection with the world has passed in one hundred hours. According to the same website, the level of internet access in Iran reached about 5 percent at the time they reported it.

The Iran National Security Council, chaired by the Interior Minister on November 16th, ordered a near-complete shutdown of the internet to prevent news, video and images of protests from being broadcast abroad and on social media. A source at the Iranian Interior Ministry had earlier disclosed that a summary of reports by governors across the country indicated that 200 protesters had died during the crackdown on protesters by Monday Nov 18th.

The protests began on November 15th  in response to a triple increase in gas prices in Ahvaz and soon spread to more than hundred  cities in Iran, and their demands have shifted from protests to gas prices to protests against social injustice, collapsed economy, the whole system and standing against 40 years of oppression.

Security agencies have also threatened, in contact with many students and their families, that "if they are found in the campus, they will be arrested."

In Tehran, protesters chanted: "the Money of Oil  has been lost, it has been spent on Palestine", "Death to the dictator", and " mullahs must go away".  On the Imam Ali highway they also blocked the road in eastern Tehran and clashed with security forces. Security guards  targeted and injured  the protesters, confirming eyewitnesses and videos posted on social media.

Informed sources announced that Iranian intelligence agents have removed protesters corpses in Tehran and are storing them in a refrigerator from Tehran's Social Security Hospital. In other cities such as Behbahan, Marivan, Javanrood, Kermanshah, Sanandaj, Mallard, Khorramshahr, Abadan, Isfahan, Shiraz, Karaj and Saveh  also protesters were killed by the security forces.

Students  council of Iran have reported that students were detained during a rally on Monday evening at Tehran University.

The council reported "several ambulances containing plainclothes officers entered the university" and detained dozens of students.

Security agencies have also threatened, in contact with many students and their families, that "if they are found in the campus, they will be arrested."

The number of students who were arrested only in Nov 18th was reported to be 40-50.

The Iranian State TV responded to the recent protests by broadcasting forced confessions.

The TV News program called 8:30 claimed that the protests were led by women and that foreign governments sponsored them.  The film features the forced confession of one of the detainees, known as "Fatemeh Davand". She confesses that she fled her home few years ago, went to Sulaimaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan, and worked with "counter-revolutionary" forces until she was transferred to Iran to conduct recent protests. The film claims that Fatemeh was arrested while fleeing the country's western borders. The confession film focuses on the scenario that women played an important role in driving the protests  and foreign agencies use women to lead protests to destroy public property.

In recent months, the statements of Maziar Ebrahimi, one of the defendants in the case of assassination of nuclear scientists after leaving Iran and emigrating to Germany, have drawn widespread criticism. In an interview with BBC Farsi, he stated that they tortured him and his confessions  were untrue and The Ministry of Intelligence paid him and other defendants a brief compensation.

A few hours before the first confession was circulated Revolutionary Guards spokesman Sardar Ramadan Sharif  announced the arrest of "branches" of protests in the Tehran, Shiraz, Alborz and Khuzestan provinces by security and intelligence agencies.

A spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards claimed that the Pahlavi Family provided funding  and  that the MEK played an effective role in "training, equipping, and organizing rioters." Ramezan Sharif also accused Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and the United States of supporting the "rioters". He said to Tasnim News Agency that Americans have always been conspiring against the  Islamic Republic, and sought to blame them and other allied countries for the current events: "The Americans have lost their way and do not know what to do. They spent millions of dollars on IS, al-Qaeda, Saddam and the Komala and the Democrats, but the result was the power of Islamic Iran. US and the Zionist regime  are at the forefront of these traitors."

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