US Provided Means Of Communication To Protesters In Iran - Envoy

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 06th December, 2019) The United States has provided tens of thousands of Iranian protesters with means to communicate with each other in circumvention of Internet blackouts imposed by the country's authorities as part of their efforts to quench the mutiny, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook told reporters on Thursday.

"Shortly after I came into this role, we worked to get tools into the hands of the Iranian people that would allow them to communicate with each other in spite of regime's efforts to shut them down," Hook said during a briefing. "We do know that tens of thousands of Iranians have used these tools that we have helped to facilitate communication."

He did not specify what the means supplied to the Iranians. The diplomat added that after every protest the US did "an inventory of lessons learned" to be more responsive to the Iranian people's needs.

Iran has been experiencing widespread protests since mid-November, which began over a sharp hike in fuel prices. The unrest led Iranian authorities to temporarily shut down the country's Internet.

Hook said that such shutdowns were costly for the already struggling Iranian economy and could not be indefinite.

"Whenever you shut down your internet you are shutting down your economy as well," he said.

As the Internet there is coming back to life, the United States receives more information about the scope of the protests and, according to Hook, now estimates that over a thousand of Iranians may have been killed in a crackdown. Human rights group Amnesty International placed the death toll at 208 on Monday.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and other Iranian leaders have blamed the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia for financially supporting and training protesters.