TEHRAN — Iran started restricting access to the internet on Friday, November 15, with nearly all access to the internet being restricted by Saturday, November 16, according to a report from NetBlocks, an organization that monitors worldwide internet access.
The organization says Iran now only has five percent of ordinary levels of connectivity to the internet.
This comes amid protests against the government's plan to hike gasoline prices.
The Iranian government plans to increase prices for rationed gasoline by 50 percent, the New York Times reports.
Those who purchase gasoline that exceeds the ration limit will face a 300 percent increase in fuel prices.
The Associated Press pointed out that even with increased prices, gasoline in Iran still remains among the cheapest in the world — with one liter costing approximately 15,000 rials, or around 13 cents.
According to the NetBlocks report, some of Iran's largest mobile network operators including MCI, RIghtel and IranCell, all fell silent around 6:00 p.m.
Authorities must work with internet service providers and mobile data providers to shut down all internet connections, reports Wired.
Alp Toker, director of NetBlocks, told Wired these telecoms would also need to overcome protections in a network system which are meant to make the system resilient in case of accidental outages or bugs.
Toker noted that Iran's initial internet slowdowns may have been due to these very protections in the leadup to the now almost complete internet shutdown.
The clampdown on internet service is believed to be designed to limit the number of people attending protests and to hinder media coverage, according to NetBlocks.
Apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram have also been blocked.
NetBlocks stated that the ongoing internet disruption is the most severe recorded in the nation ever since President Hassan Rouhani came to power.
The organization also noted that this is the "most severe disconnection" tracked by the organization for any country in terms of its "technical complexity and breadth."