Twitter has blocked the account of Ali Akbar Raefipour, a media activist and university professor close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), after he used the social media platform to issue threats to anti-government protesters.
In a tweet on December 6, Raefipour wrote, "If you want to lose your life, join the street protests, especially if you have a beautiful face". He claimed that recent calls for nationwide protests and strikes were part of an effort to "create deaths".
Raefipour has consistently expressed support for the security forces’ bloody crackdown on the wave of protests that has rocked Iran since the middle of September.
Following calls for a three-day nationwide strike this week, some social media users close to the government have blamed the killing of protesters on the demonstrators themselves and on those joining the strikes.
Iran has been gripped by demonstrations since a 22-year-old woman died in custody on September 16 after her arrest by Tehran’s morality police for an alleged breach of the country’s strict dress code.
The security forces have responded to the protest movement by unleashing a brutal crackdown that has killed more than 440 people, including dozens of children, according to activists. Thousands of others have also been detained.