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U.S. calls on Iran to unblock social media sites amid protests

Anti-riot police prevent university students from joining other protesters in Tehran on Dec. 30. (Associated Press)
Anti-riot police prevent university students from joining other protesters in Tehran on Dec. 30. (Associated Press)

The Trump administration is calling on Iran's government to stop blocking Instagram and other popular social media sites as Iranians are demonstrating in the streets.

Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein says the U.S. wants Iran to "open these sites." He says Instagram, Telegram and other platforms are "legitimate avenues for communication."

The United States is encouraging Iranians to use virtual private networks, known as VPNs. Those services create encrypted links between computers and can be used to access blocked websites.

Goldstein says the U.S. is still communicating with Iranians in Persian through State Department accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. He says the U.S. wants to "encourage the protesters to continue to fight for what's right."

Goldstein says the U.S. has an "obligation not to stand by."

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