U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has slammed Iran for using "violence" and internet disruption to prevent memorials for those killed during a November crackdown on anti-establishment protests.
"The Iranian people have the right to mourn 1,500 victims slaughtered by @khamenei_ir during #IranProtests," Pompeo tweeted Friday, directly accusing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on religious and political issues in the Islamic republic.
According to the semiofficial ILNA news agency, internet access was effectively cut off Wednesday in several Iranian provinces ahead of memorials planned Thursday.
Several people were reportedly detained at a mourning in Karaj marking 40 days since the death of a slain protester.
"The regime fears its own citizens and has once again resorted to violence and shutting down the internet," Pompeo tweeted Friday.
The protests in Iran were touched off by a significant increase in the price of gasoline. The United States said earlier this month that Iranian authorities might have killed more than 1,000 people in the crackdown in mid-November.
Reuters quoted anonymous government officials as saying about 1,500 people had died during the protests, though that figure could not be confirmed.
Amnesty International has said that at least 304 were killed and thousands injured in the unrest.
Tehran has dismissed the figures by rights groups and others while failing to publish an official death toll.
Agence France-Presse and Reuters contributed to this report.