Iran Internet access down pre-protests, report says

Two days in advance of Student Day, which marks the 1953 killing of students by Iranian police, the AFP reports that Internet access in Tehran is largely down due to "a decision by the authorities."

Two days ahead of a new round of planned protests against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Internet access in the nation's capital is largely down, according to Agence France Presse.

During the post-election unrest in June, Twitter became a main avenue for Iranians' communication with the outside world. Twitter

Sources close to Iran's technical services say the cut to Tehran's outside access was the result of "a decision by the authorities" and not a technical breakdown, the news agency reports. Telecommunications ministry officials were unavailable for comment.

Protests are scheduled Monday to mark Student Day, the anniversary of the December 6, 1953, killing of three of University of Tehran students by Iranian police. The students were protesting then-U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon's visit, which followed the CIA-sponsored overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq.

As the nation gets ready to mark the annual day of remembrance, several Web sites have reported that Iranian opposition groups are preparing to hold fresh protests against Ahmadinejad. Scores of arrests have already been reported in advance of Student Day.

Since widespread post-election upheaval broke out in June amid charges of government vote-rigging, Internet lines, texting, and even mobile phone service have been cut or scrambled. But the weekend's Internet outage marks the first such occurrence to take place this far in advance of protests, AFP reports.

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