State Department calls on Iran to stop blocking social media

State Department calls on Iran to stop blocking social media
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The State Department on Tuesday urged the Iranian government to end its blocking of social media platforms amid continued protests against the country's clerical rulers. 

Steve Goldstein, U.S. undersecretary of State, said the administration would like Iran to “open these sites,” according to The Associated Press.

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The founder of the messaging app Telegram said Sunday that Iranian authorities blocked many of its citizens from accessing the app after the technology company refused to close down some channels.

Protests began over economic concerns last week, but have shifted toward anti-government demonstrations focused on Iran’s clerical rulers, according to reports.

In the remarks reported by the AP, Goldstein said the social media platforms are “legitimate avenues for communication” and that the U.S. is obligated “not to stand by.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE and other administration officials, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions Nikki Haley blasts Roy Moore's Senate bid: 'He does not represent our Republican Party' Trump UN nominee: Climate change poses 'real risks' MORE, have said they support the peaceful protesters. Trump said Monday that it’s “time for change” in Iran.

“The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their ‘pockets,’ " Trump said Tuesday.

“The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!”