US says will sanction Iran 'abuses' against protesters

Trump accuses Iran of blocking the internet to cover up deaths

Afp November 22, 2019
Iranians walk past a bank that was set on fire by protesters during a demonstration against a rise in gasoline prices in Isfahan on November 17. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Iranians on Thursday to send photos and other information documenting repression amid ongoing protests while vowing to sanction "abuses" by the Islamic republic.

Demonstrations erupted in sanctions-hit Iran last Friday, hours after the price of gasoline spiked by as much as 200 percent.

Unrest spread to scores of urban centers, during which protesters attacked police stations, torched petrol pumps and looted shops.

"I have asked the Iranian protestors to send us their videos, photos and information documenting the regime's crackdown on protestors," Pompeo tweeted.

"The US will expose and sanction the abuses," he added.

Iran to unblock internet once 'abuse' stops: govt

A near-total internet shutdown has made obtaining information on bloodshed difficult. Officials have confirmed five deaths, but Amnesty International has said the real death toll could be well over 100.

Earlier Thursday US President Donald Trump accused Iran of blocking the internet to cover up "death and tragedy."

"Iran has become so unstable that the regime has shut down its entire Internet System so that the Great Iranian people cannot talk about the tremendous violence taking place within the country," Trump tweeted.

Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guards' official website praised the armed forces for taking "timely action" against "rioters" and suggested that calm had been restored.

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