Craig Labovitz brings us evidence of Iran’s crackdown on the internet:
The state owned Data communication Company of Iran (or DCI) acts as the gateway for all Internet traffic entering or leaving the country. Historically, Iranian Internet access has enjoyed some level of freedom despite government filtering and monitoring of web sites.
In normal times, DCI carries roughly 5 Gbps of traffic (with a reported capacity of 12 Gbps) through 6 upstream regional and global Internet providers. For the region, this represents an average level of Internet infrastructure (for purposes of perspective, a mid size ISP in Michigan carries roughly the same level of traffic).
Then the Iranian Internet stopped.
One the day after the elections on June 13th at 1:30pm GMT (9:30am EDT and 6:00pm Tehran / IRDT), Iran dropped off the Internet. All six regional and global providers connecting Iran to the rest of the world saw a near complete loss of traffic.
And here’s a visual representation of the drop-off:
UPDATE: More pics from HuffPo:
UPDATE II: This is, by far, the best piece I have read so far on what the American response to the Iranian protests should be:
This lingering belief among Iranians that America has some unique control over their fate is a legacy of the two nations’ tangled past. Beginning with the American coup that overthrew Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, Mohammed Mosaddeq, in 1953, through to Jimmy Carter’s tepid response to the revolutionary crowds that helped bring down the shah’s regime in 1979, both U.S. action and inaction are considered equally powerful among most Iranians.
Given this history, Iranians have looked curiously to Washington in recent days, eager to see what America’s new president has to say about Ahmadinejad’s fraudulent re-election and the furious protests it has unleashed. The years I’ve spent living in Iran, both under President Ahmadinejad and his more moderate predecessor, led me to expect that most people would be desperate for a nod from America. Until last week, Iranian student leaders often insisted that they didn’t have the power to meaningfully oppose their government from the inside. They said they needed the West to pressure the mullahs as well, in hopes that the regime would eventually feel squeezed on all sides.
But in conversations with friends and relatives in Tehran this week, I’ve heard the opposite of what I had expected: a resounding belief that this time the United States should keep out. One of my cousins, a woman in her mid-30s who has been attending the daily protests along with the rest of her family, viewed the situation pragmatically. “The U.S. shouldn’t interfere, because a loud condemnation isn’t going to affect Iranian domestic politics one way or the other. If the supreme leader decides to crackdown on the protests and Ahmadinejad stays in power, then negotiations with the United States might improve our lives.”
Other friends I spoke with cited various reasons why the United States should maintain its discrete posture. “If Obama’s position until now has been to respect Iran, then he really has no choice but to watch first how things unfold. Mousavi hasn’t produced any facts yet, no one has produced evidence of fraud,” said my friend Ali, a 40-year-old photographer. “That’s what is needed before Obama takes a major stand.”
My older relatives fretted particularly that any real criticism by the United States would be used as a pretext by Ahmadinejad to blame the protests on “outside enemies,” a reflexive response for the president when dealing with even housing inflation and the rising price of tomatoes. “It’s better for Obama to stay out of this. Given what happened with Bush in Florida, Ahmadinejad can always claim the United States is in no position to lecture anyone about fair elections,” my aunt noted.
UPDATE III: More along those lines from the National Security Network:
Calling for the United States to directly support the protests – even symbolically – could place the demonstrators in severe danger. The Iranian regime is feverishly attempting to label the demonstrators as western agitators backed by the United States – Iranian state television even used a clip from FOX News in an effort to make this point. Therefore the calls from Pence, Cantor, and McCain are not only just unhelpful, but they are a total gift to Ahmadinejad.