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Pompeo: 20K messages received from Iranian protesters

Pompeo: 20K messages received from Iranian protesters

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoUS Olympic Committee urges Congress not to boycott Games in China Pompeo on CIA recruitment: We can't risk national security to appease 'liberal, woke agenda' DNC gathers opposition research on over 20 potential GOP presidential candidates MORE on Tuesday said the State Department has received about 20,000 communications from Iranian protesters sharing videos, photos and messages showing the “regime’s abuses” against demonstrations sparked by a rise in fuel prices.

The communications were sent through the secure messaging app Telegram and came in a response to a request by Pompeo to document human rights abuses against protests after Tehran instituted a media and communications blackout to shut down the protests.

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“Last week the regime shut down the internet to prevent the truth about the protests from getting out. I asked Iranians to share their message with the United States so they could expose and sanction the abuses of the Iranian regime,” Pompeo said.

Internet connectivity in Iran has resumed slightly since the blackout went into effect last week. Iran’s cell service and communication company is operating at 70 percent, according to Netblocks.org, a civil society group that maps internet freedoms.

In response, the State Department imposed sanctions on Iran’s communications minister. Republican senators have called on the administration to place additional sanctions on Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani for engaging in censorship.

“I had talked about the 20,000 messages we’ve received, which we believe all came from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the secretary said. “We expect we’ll get thousands and thousands more over the coming days as well. There is the capacity for Iranians to communicate outside of the country.”

Amnesty International believes that more than 100 people have been killed in the protest, while the United Nations has said they have heard figures of a few dozen. Tehran has noted the death of four members of the security forces. At least 1,000 people have been arrested.