By Joseph Braude
With countrywide protests largely quelled, he Iranian government has stated — and social media crowdsourcing has confirmed — that restrictions on the use of the Telegram messaging app and other online tools have been lifted. According to state media, president Hassan Rouhani had advocated for an easing of the Internet clampdown sooner while hardline factions call for continuing suppression. Officials also announced Sunday that hundreds of people detained over the weeks of protest had been released — 440, according to Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi. Neither that figure, nor the assertion by an Iranian judiciary spokesman that only 55 protestors remained in detention, could be confirmed — though estimates last week by Iranian parliamentarian Mahmoud Sadeghi had put the number of arrests at 3,700.
President Rouhani meanwhile had a message for the international community. On Sunday, following President Trump’s decision to wave sanctions on Iran to keep the Iranian nuclear deal alive, Rouhani said, “The American administration has failed to undermine the nuclear deal … Trump, despite his repeated efforts, has failed to undermine the accord.” The deal amounted to a “long-lasting victory for Iran,” he added. As noted in the prior edition of “Iran Monitor,” European leaders had called last week for maintaining the agreement.
Though the White House did announce Friday that it would again wave sanctions which the nuclear deal had suspended, it also announced separate sanctions on 14 Iranian individuals and entities at the same time. Among them: Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, headed of the Iranian judiciary. The Trump administration said the new measures were a response to the Iranian government’s crackdown on protests as well as Tehran’s continuing ballistic missile program.