Internet disruption registered in Iran amid water protests

Network data from NetBlocks confirm a subnational disruption to internet service in parts of Iran from the morning of Thursday 25 November 2021, ongoing for close to two days.

The disruption registered in the southwestern city of Ahvaz comes amid protests against government water management policies which have centered around Isfahan, where outages have also been reported by users.

Users reported the disconnection or severe slowing of internet service in multiple cities as protesters were met by security forces. The disruptions are likely to limit the public’s ability to express political discontent and communicate freely.

This class of internet disruption affects connectivity at the network layer and cannot generally be worked around with the use of circumvention software or VPNs.

Recent disruptions and shutdowns in Iran

Iran has faced a series of network disruptions in recent years, with some attributed to external factors, and others to state information controls or targeted internet shutdowns. NetBlocks investigations have helped identify the root causes of these network outages.

During a similar incident in July 2021, mobile internet was disrupted amid water protests across Khuzestan. Other disruptions have been tracked during gatherings following the death of an outspoken singer, and following the shooting down of flight PS752.

In November 2019, Iran shut down internet access nationally amid widespread public protests that were met with deadly force by authorities. In that instance, users gradually regained access as connectivity was selectively brought back after a week of near-total outages.

Further reading:

A 20-day aggregated view from Ahvaz shows a significant and sustained decline in network connectivity from early Thursday morning


NetBlocks diffscans, which map the IP address space of a country in real time, show internet connectivity levels and corresponding outages. Purposeful internet outages may have a distinct network pattern used by NetBlocks to determine and attribute the root cause of an outage, a process known as attribution which follows detection and classification stages.

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