Revolutionary Guard in Iran Vows ‘Full Destruction of Any Aggressor’
The birds simply vanished — after rudely waking us every morning with their maniacal “koo-koo-kah-KAH-KAH” call, after my kids named them Ferrari and Lamborghini, after we learned that kookaburras mate for life.
And here’s the odd thing: I missed them.
This is not normal, at least not for me, but Sydney has a rare superpower: It turns urbanites into bird people, and birds into urbanites. Few other cities of its size (five million and counting) can even come close to matching Sydney’s still-growing population of bold, adaptable and brightly colored squawkers.
“We’ve got a lot of large conspicuous native birds that are doing well and that is very unusual globally,” said Richard Major, the principal research scientist in ornithology for the Australian Museum in Sydney. “It’s quite different in other cities around the world.”
The reasons — some natural, others man-made — are fascinating, and we’ll get to them. But lest anyone doubt Mr. Major’s assertion, at a time when the bird population of North America is suffering a steep decline, compare a typical day of avian interactions in Sydney with anywhere else.
Morning here begins with a chorus. Relentlessly chirpy, the noisy miner blasts the alarm before dawn alongside the screeching and flapping of rainbow lorikeets, parrots brighter than Magic Markers and that argue like toddlers. And of course, there are the kookaburras, with their cackles carrying across neighborhoods declaring: “This is MY territory!”
A walk to the car or train may require dodging attacking magpies — in spring, they swoop down on your head to protect their young — and rarely does a week go by without seeing a sulphur-crested cockatoo, or a dozen, spinning on a wire like an escaped circus act.
Even the local scavenger is extraordinary. As grubby as any New York pigeon but much grander, the white ibis, known here as a “bin chicken,” is a hefty, prehistoric-looking creature with a curved beak.
It’s a remarkable mix.
Even as ornithologists point out that some small birds are struggling in the city, they note that a generation or two ago, Sydney didn’t have nearly as much avian diversity as it does today, nor as many flocks of birds that have mastered what city living requires: competitiveness, an obsession with real estate and the ability to adapt.
Why so many birds are thriving here is increasingly a subject of international study. Scientists believe it is due in part to how Sydney was settled — relatively recently, compared with many global cities, with less intrusion into wildlife habitats.
The luck of local terrain has helped. Sydney’s rocky coastline didn’t lend itself to clearing land for agriculture, which slowed development and left lots of native plants untouched. Australia’s early leaders also set up large national parks near Sydney, protecting bushland for animals of all kinds.
But making the city a bird capital was probably not on their agenda. The British colonialists in charge hated the sound of Sydney’s birds enough to import songbirds like common starlings to soothe their tender ears.
Today, some early examples of those imports, from the 1860s, are stuffed and tagged in the Australian Museum’s collection room. When I stopped by one recent morning, Leah Tsang, the museum’s ornithology collection manager, sifted through the white metal cabinets containing the taxidermy archives to show me the supposed improvement sent from Europe.
The juvenile starlings in the tray looked small, dark and … dull.
A few cabinets over, Dr. Tsang showed me her own favorite bird — the princess parrot, a lovely Australian specimen of soft pastels, in pink, blue and green.
If the young starling’s feathers evoked the lackluster mood of a Benjamin Disraeli portrait, the princess parrot was Elton John.
“I had one as a pet when I was a kid,” said Dr. Tsang, 40, who sported some bold plumage herself, a shock of electric blue hair in a ponytail. “Its name was Cheeky.”
She told me she came to birds late in life, at least as a career. She worked in technology for nearly a decade before ditching it for the birds.
“You want to do something that fulfills you and makes you happy,” she said, standing near a display of little penguins (yes, balmy Sydney has penguins, too). She paused, and later told me she worried about sounding like a cliché.
But there’s no need to ashamed of bird-loving. Not in Sydney.
That afternoon, I went for a walk in the city’s Centennial Parklands with John Martin, an ornithologist with the University of New South Wales who is working on a project looking at how Sydney’s cockatoos have adapted, learning to open garbage bins and knock on windows to ask people for food.
We stopped near a wetland in the park’s center. In less than an hour, we saw 20 species of birds — and old friends, Ann Birrell and Carol Bunton, who are park regulars.
They surprised me with their knowledge of not just kinds of birds, but individual ones — two owls that had nested in an oak; a tawny frogmouth they had gotten to know; and the corellas flying overhead, pecking, wrestling and mating in the trees.
“There are ménage à troises,” observed Ms. Bunton, a retiree walking with a cane, nodding toward the corellas. “We’re interested in their behavior.”
Dr. Martin walked us over to one of the ponds where ducks and other birds gather. He pointed out a white ibis with a yellow plastic number tag on its wing. “That’s Lennie,” he said.
Lennie had been tagged as part of a study aiming to understand why Sydney seemed to have so many of these so-called bin chickens. The public sees them as a nuisance, but according to Dr. Major at the Australian Museum, they only started to appear in Sydney in the 1970s.
Researchers eventually discovered that the white ibis loves carbohydrates, making it a match for a city of fish and chips. But the big birds were also refugees of a sort; they had moved to Sydney because their natural wetland habitat further inland had been dried out by drought and heavy-handed water management.
“We’re not sure if it’s climate change or not, but what we do know is that the coast has always been a refuge,” Dr. Martin said.
Sydney is not ideal for all. Tiny birds like the superb fairy-wren, with its bright blue markings, seem to be declining because they need brambles and weeds to hide in, and urbanization tends to cut that away.
But for larger and more territorial birds, Sydney is quite comfortably home.
At one point in the park, we walked by a group of parrots with bright pink heads. They were galahs, which has become slang for lovable doofus. They didn’t make a sound, nor did they mind me getting within inches of them.
Many of Sydney’s birds seem to like their human neighbors. Scientists have determined magpies can form friendships with people. Cockatoos are highly social too.
I was wondering if the same was true for kookaburras, and then, as I was finishing this article, Ferrari and Lamborghini returned. They showed up just before dark and took their perch near my daughter’s window. They nuzzled. They screeched their unique good night and good morning. It’s quite a racket. But we’re hoping they stay.
HONG KONG — Antigovernment protesters clashed with the police and threw gasoline bombs in Hong Kong on Saturday, a fresh sign that political tensions are running high in the Chinese territory ahead of a sensitive political anniversary.
The clashes occurred after a pro-democracy march a few miles from Hong Kong’s border with the Chinese mainland, and on a day when government supporters had swept the streets in a symbolic repudiation of the three-month-old protest movement.
This was the 16th successive weekend of unrest in the semiautonomous territory, with less than two weeks remaining before Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China under the Communist Party. Beijing does not want anything to mar the holiday, but the Hong Kong protesters seem determined to do just that.
The first event on Saturday was a citywide “cleanup” led by Junius Ho, a pro-Beijing lawmaker who is among the government’s most vocal defenders. He visited several districts of Hong Kong holding a broom and a dust pan, and theatrically tidied the sidewalks as television cameras rolled.
“National Day is almost here, plus it’s the 70th anniversary this year, so we want to give Hong Kong a clean face,” said Innes Tang, 55, a volunteer who joined one of the cleanup events.
Mr. Ho has been regarded with particular scorn by protesters since July 21, when a group of men wearing white T-shirts attacked protesters with sticks and metal bars in the Yuen Long subway station in northwestern Hong Kong. Mr. Ho was seen shaking hands with men in similar T-shirts in the area on the same night. He later denied any connection.
This past week, Mr. Ho called on his supporters to strip the so-called Lennon Walls of pro-democracy messages that have appeared across Hong Kong this summer, and which echo street murals that antigovernment protesters erected in 1980s Prague. He later asked them to leave the walls alone, out of a fear that stripping them could spur clashes with protesters.
But some government supporters stripped Lennon Walls on Saturday anyway — including in the Yuen Long district, where police officers in riot gear stood guard to protect them. And Mr. Ho said that while he did not wish to see clashes, he believed that the messages on the walls had “created a foul atmosphere.”
“We want to arouse positive feelings by cleaning up Hong Kong,” he said at a cleanup event in Tuen Mun, about six miles from Yuen Long.
As the cleanups tapered off, thousands of antigovernment protesters were beginning a police-approved march from a park in Tuen Mun. It was designed in part to demand more regulation of buskers in the park known as “singing aunties,” middle-aged women who sing pop songs through loudspeakers in Mandarin, the primary form of Chinese spoken in the mainland.
The antipathy toward those women reflects a widespread fear of the growing influence of mainland Chinese in Hong Kong, a former British colony that was handed back to Beijing’s control in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” arrangement that guaranteed it a high degree of autonomy for a half century.
A protester in the park, Phoenix Leung, 30, said the Tuen Mun march was part of a broader struggle for freedoms in the territory.
“The government wouldn’t do anything about this, and it’s up to us to defend the rights we’re supposed to have,” said Ms. Leung, who works in a hospital. “The parks are for our leisure, not for their private activities or to dance and collect money; it’s become like a pornographic venue.”
The Hong Kong protests began in June in opposition to contentious legislation that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where the courts are controlled by the Communist Party. The Hong Kong government has since promised to withdraw the bill, but the protests have continued anyway, driven by demands for universal suffrage, greater police accountability and other significant political reforms.
By late Saturday afternoon in Tuen Mun, a few protesters had set a Chinese flag on fire. Previous flag-burnings this summer have angered government supporters in Hong Kong and on the Chinese mainland.
Other protesters stormed onto the tracks of a nearby train station, breaking security cameras and glass-encased signs with metal poles. The station had been shut beforehand by the city’s subway operator in anticipation of demonstrations.
Police officers in riot gear initially watched the mayhem from a distance. But by 5 p.m. — in scenes that have become common this summer in a normally peaceful city — they were firing tear gas at protesters and pinning some to the ground.
The protesters, meanwhile, were throwing bricks and gasoline bombs into the road to impede police charges, and setting fires in the streets.
As night fell, hundreds of protesters decamped to a shopping mall near the Yuen Long subway station for a sit-in. The authorities had closed the station earlier in the day.
One protester at the mall, Fanny Yeung, 38, said she and her family had spent more than an hour traveling there because of train closings. But she said it was worth it.
“This is a battle between justice and rule by terror,” she said. “We have to come out to say we will always stand on the side of justice.”
TORUN, Poland — From the martyrs of World War II to the heroes who led the fight against communist rule, priests in Poland have long played an outsize role in shaping the political life of this deeply Catholic country.
And in Poland today, there is no more politically powerful — or divisive — cleric than the man referred to as “Father Director,” the Rev. Tadeusz Rydzyk.
Something of a cross between the televangelist Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh, Father Rydzyk wields power both from the pulpit and through his vast media empire. His Radio Maryja station, which reaches millions and is often the sole source of information for many older voters in rural Poland, offers a daily diet of horror stories about a world without faith, where gay people control the political agenda, universities are corrupted by “neo-Marxists,” and the Roman Catholic Church is under mortal threat.
With national elections less than a month away, on Oct. 13, Father Rydzyk is arguably the most important unelected man in Poland. His support for the governing Law and Justice party has delivered millions of votes and, in turn, the government has showered his business empire with tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks and grants.
The party has also pushed conservative policies he favors, but lawmakers have twice had to retreat on anti-abortion measures that Father Rydzyk supported, leading to speculation of a schism. At the moment, there is no indication that Father Rydzyk will align himself with any of the small right-wing parties trying to outflank Law and Justice. But his support is not unconditional, a point he has made clear in recent months.
“Father Rydzyk is an absolutely unique example of a Polish priest,” said Wawrzyniec Konarski, a political scientist and the rector of Vistula University in Warsaw. “He is socially conservative, as the clergy here usually are, but unlike any of his colleagues, he has an uncanny knack for business and generating money. And he’s a true public relations maverick.”
When Law and Justice swept to power in 2015 by promoting a potent mix of aggrieved nationalism, widespread social welfare spending and appeals to the faithful, Father Rydzyk’s support was critical.
To understand the enduring appeal of Law and Justice — even as critics accuse it of undermining the Polish Constitution and drifting toward authoritarian rule — one needs to understand how intertwined its message has become with the church.
When Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Law and Justice, kicked off the campaign season this month, he argued that Polish patriotism and the Catholic church are forever linked.
“Christianity is part of our national identity. The church was and is a preacher and possessor of the only system of values fully known in Poland,” Mr. Kaczynski said in a speech in Lublin. “Besides the church, there is only nihilism — I repeat it again. And we reject this nihilism, because nihilism builds nothing, nihilism destroys everything.”
It was a version of what Father Rydzyk, 74, was telling his supporters on the same day in the medieval walled-city of Torun in central Poland.
“We need to take good care of Poland, Poland’s future and faith, because they want to whip it away from us,” the priest told a crowd of supporters, some of whom huddled outside under stone arches of the church he built three years ago. “We know of course which party we are going to vote for. But make sure the people we choose from this party are righteous, will defend the church, Catholics and our values.”
With a deeply divided public distrustful of the news media and naturally suspicious of its neighbors to both the east and the west, priests hold a singular place of authority in Polish society.
When a documentary was released before recent local elections revealing devastating examples of how priests sexually abused children and how church officials covered it up, many saw it not as evidence of an institution that lost its way, but one that needed to be defended.
The chief apostle of the view that Polish values and faith are under siege is Father Rydzyk, and he has used that message to secure his place as a champion for those who feel unmoored in an increasingly secular Europe.
In turn, he has used that influence to expand his media empire and enrich his Lux Veritatis Foundation, which controls a variety of businesses, including a cellphone network provider and a geothermal plant.
Since Law and Justice came to power in 2015, Father Rydzyk’s businesses have received at least $55 million in subsidies from at least 10 ministries and state companies, according to public records.
The money has gone to dozens of causes including a new museum, a university, social campaigns and even media courses for judges at Father Rydzyk’s College of Social and Media Culture in Torun.
While church attendance has steadily declined across Europe, 87 percent of Poland’s 38 million people declare themselves as Catholic.
But even among the faithful, Father Rydzyk is a deeply divisive figure, and his views are by no means universally shared among Catholics.
His Radio Maryja was one of the first stations to start broadcasting after the collapse of Communism. From the start, the language used by those working for his outlets has come under criticism as promoting xenophobia, homophobia, euroskepticism and anti-Semitism.
Father Rydzyk himself has called gay people “disgusting” and “an abomination”; branded the European Union “the new Soviet Union”; and repeatedly insinuated that Poland is ruled by Jews.
Even Mr. Kaczynski, now 70, was critical of the station in the 1990s.
“Radio Maryja upholds today deeply anti-Western values, it’s ill-disposed toward church officials, it’s pro-Russian,” he said in an interview for “Gazeta Polska” in 1998.
But by targeting people who felt left behind in Poland’s transition to capitalism from socialism, Father Rydzyk built a deeply loyal base of support.
Mr. Kaczynski and Father Rydzyk repaired their relationship, and endorsements from the Catholic leader’s media outlets in 2005 helped Mr. Kaczynski’s party secure victories in elections that year, although they were voted out two years later and did not regain power until 2015.
The government has continued to direct state funds to businesses associated with Father Rydzyk, leading critics to charge that their bond is based on financial greed and political need rather than faith.
“The funding Father Rydzyk has received from Law and Justice is beyond imagining, but he’s always wanted more than money,” said Ireneusz Krzeminski, a sociologist at Warsaw University who has studied coverage of Radio Maryja. “He has created a nationalist-Catholic ideology, which only makes sense when it is translated into political actions.”
Law and Justice has delivered on several issues important to Father Rydzyk, including the forced closing of all retail stores on most Sundays and blocking sexual education classes.
But the government has twice tried to push through new restrictions on abortion and both times was forced to back down in the face of large street protests and resistance from Polish women.
The failure to restrict abortion is part of the reason there has been speculation that Father Rydzyk might end his support of the party, but there is little evidence of a lasting schism.
Abortion has not been a major talking point early in the election campaign. Instead, conservative politicians and priests alike have aimed their fire at gay men and lesbians and leaders of the opposition, whom they condemn as morally and politically corrupt.
It is a message that appeals to voters like Kazimierz Bujnowski, a 60-year-old retired transport worker.
He is concerned that patriotic love of country is being replaced with a toxic multiculturalism. He is suspicious of unbridled capitalism. And he fears that Poles are being made to feel ashamed to be Polish.
That is why he found himself huddling in the rain in Torun along with hundreds of others who could not find a seat in the packed church to listen to Father Rydzyk this month.
“He is saying that Poles need to be patriotic and free to feel Polish,” Mr. Bujnowski said. “That is what I want.”
SEOUL, South Korea — It was sad enough when the bodies of Han Sung-ok and her 6-year-old son were found in their $74-a-month apartment in Seoul in July, two months after they had died.
But the story became national news after it emerged that Ms. Han, 42, was a North Korean who had fled famine in her homeland, and that the two had died alone and impoverished in one of Asia’s richest cities.
Their bodies were so decomposed that the cause of death could not be determined, according to the authorities. But several South Korean news outlets have reported that they died of starvation, and officials have not disputed those reports. The news channel that broke the story last month quoted an unidentified police officer as saying that there was no other possible explanation.
The deaths have been a shocking reminder of the hardships faced by many North Koreans in the South, as they try and sometimes fail to adjust to a radically new life. Since the news became public, thousands have visited a mourning station built for Ms. Han and her son, Kim Dong-jin, in central Seoul, laying white chrysanthemums in front of portraits of them.
The most emotional visitors were other North Koreans and their supporters, hundreds of whom came from across the country on Saturday to attend a funeral ceremony for the mother and son. Speaker after tearful speaker apologized for not protecting them from the prejudices, indifference and ostracism that many North Koreans say they experience in the South.
“I am still struggling to understand this: She escaped a famine in North Korea — only to starve to death in the heart of South Korea, where there is so much food that going on a diet is its biggest fad,” said Heo Kwang-il, who leads a North Korean defectors’ organization.
Not much is known about Ms. Han’s life in either Korea. But she appears to have become increasingly isolated and despondent in her last months, though help for her and her son was just a few hundred yards away at a district government office.
She first arrived in South Korea in 2009, according to government records. Like all defectors from the isolated, totalitarian North, she went through 12 weeks of mandatory classes, learning basic skills like using a credit card and driving a car.
The government provides North Korean refugees with low-rent apartments, welfare payments and free health care and job training. But many struggle to make the transition from the North’s highly regimented system to the South’s fast-paced, capitalistic one. A few have even returned to the North, complaining that they had been treated like second-class citizens in the South.
Ms. Han got off welfare in nine months, suggesting that she was adapting quickly to her new life. But Kim Yong-hwa, the head of the NK Refugees Human Rights Association of Korea, who knew Ms. Han, said she had been carrying an emotional burden.
She had originally fled the North for China in the wake of the famine that killed millions of North Koreans in the late 1990s, according to Mr. Kim. He said she became one of the thousands of North Korean women sold by human traffickers to rural Chinese men looking for wives.
Such women live with the constant fear of being returned to North Korea and sent to a labor camp. Rights groups say that many of the women’s Chinese husbands exploit that vulnerability and sexually abuse them.
Some North Korean women in that situation have made their way to South Korea with children they had in China, only to face the stigma of being a single mother in the South, along with all the other difficulties of adjusting to life there.
Ms. Han initially came to the South alone, leaving a young son behind with her husband, according to Mr. Kim, who said he helped arrange her escape through Thailand, using smugglers. She paid the smugglers $2,000 after arriving in the South and getting cash support from the government, Mr. Kim said.
“But she terribly missed her son in China,” he said.
In 2012, Ms. Han asked her husband, an ethnic Korean, to join her in South Korea with their son. The man found work at a shipyard. Another son — Dong-jin — was born in 2013. They soon discovered that he had epilepsy.
South Korea’s shipbuilding industry entered a slump, and Ms. Han’s husband lost his job. In 2017, the family moved back to China.
Last September, Ms. Han returned to South Korea with Dong-jin, having divorced her husband, according to Mr. Kim. He said she called him, sounding depressed. She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to work, because she couldn’t find a child-care center that would accept an epileptic child. He said he advised her to apply for welfare benefits.
What happened to Ms. Han and Dong-jin after that is not clear.
North Korean defectors are closely supervised by the government for five years, but that time period had expired. The district office says Ms. Han never applied for welfare. Other North Koreans in Seoul have said that she did not have close friends among them.
She apparently could not afford a cellphone, meaning she would have been even more isolated. In her last months, her only income was $165 per month in government child support. In March, when Dong-jin turned 6, that amount was cut in half. A social worker visited in April and reported that no one was home.
On May 13, Ms. Han withdrew the last money in her bank account: $3.20.
On July 31, a meter man went to the apartment because the gas and water bills had gone unpaid for months. The smell was terrible, and he called the police. (Neighbors later told reporters that they thought it had been from a compost pile.)
The police later estimated that Ms. Han and Dong-jin had died in late May. Forensic investigators found no evidence of poisoning or physical trauma, nor was there any sign of a break-in. The refrigerator was empty except for a bit of chili powder.
Lee Jung-bin, an emeritus professor of forensic medicine at Gachon University near Seoul, said that starvation would be hard to prove in such a case, even if circumstantial evidence pointed to it. “If they don’t find any clear clues, like poisoning, forensic examiners will have to settle for ‘cause of death unknown,’ ” he said.
Many other questions are unanswered. Why didn’t Ms. Han ask for emergency assistance at the district office? Why didn’t she report her son’s illness, which would have entitled them to disability support? Kang Mi-jin, a North Korean defector-turned-journalist in Seoul who has been investigating the case, said Ms. Han could have withdrawn $4,500 that she had originally deposited to secure the apartment.
“She either didn’t know how to navigate the South Korean system and find the help that was available, or just felt so hopeless about her situation that she gave up trying,” Ms. Kang said.
Another North Korean refugee, Lee Min-bok, said: “She died not because she didn’t have any food, but because she had no hope.”
Helping defectors from the North has not been a political priority for South Korea in recent years, as the government has focused on improving ties with Pyongyang. And as the economy has slowed, there has been resistance to increasing subsidies for the refugees, who some see as competitors in a tough labor market.
But the deaths of Ms. Han and her son have unsettled many people. Government officials stood in silence in their memory this month, at a meeting to discuss how to repair gaps in the welfare system for defectors.
Later, they announced that the government would check in with all 31,000 North Koreans living in the South, to make sure that anyone who needed help received it.
DUBAI — Iran will pursue and seek to destroy any aggressor, even one carrying out a limited attack, the head of the Revolutionary Guard Corps said on Saturday, after attacks on Saudi oil sites, which both Riyadh and American officials blamed on Tehran.
“Be careful, a limited aggression will not remain limited. We will pursue any aggressor,” the head of the Revolutionary Guard, Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, said in remarks broadcast on state TV. “And we will continue until the full destruction of any aggressor.”
President Trump on Friday approved sending American troops to bolster Saudi Arabia’s air and missile defenses after the Sept. 14 attack.
Iran denies involvement in the attack, which was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, a group aligned with Iran and currently fighting a Saudi-led alliance in Yemen’s civil war.
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who heads the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace branch, said any attacks on Iran would receive “a crushing response,” the official news agency IRNA reported.
A senior Iranian military official, Brig. Gen. Ghadir Nezami — head of international affairs and defense diplomacy at Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces — announced on Saturday that Iran, China and Russia would begin joint naval exercises in the Arabian Sea and the North Indian Ocean in the near future, according to Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency.
The United States on Friday imposed more sanctions on Iran, targeting the Central Bank of Iran, which was already under U.S. sanctions; the National Development Fund of Iran, the country’s sovereign wealth fund; and an Iranian company that American officials said is used to conceal financial transfers for Iranian military purchases.
Iran’s foreign minister denounced the sanctions against its central bank as an attempt to deny ordinary Iranians access to food and medicine.
“This is a sign of U.S. desperation,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif told reporters in remarks shown on state television. “When they repeatedly sanction the same institution, this means their attempt at bringing the Iranian nation to its knees under ‘maximum pressure’ has failed.”
Mr. Zarif, who was in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly that starts next week, said he would on Wednesday meet foreign ministers of the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear accord, which was agreed with Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia as well as the United States.
The United States withdrew from the accord last year and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Iran.
After reports on social media on Friday of a cyberattack on some petrochemical and other companies in Iran, a state body in charge of cybersecurity denied there had been a “successful” attack.
“There has not been a successful cyberattack on oil facilities and other critical infrastructure,” said an official statement carried by IRNA.
NetBlocks, an organization that monitors internet connectivity, earlier reported “intermittent disruptions” to some internet services in Iran starting on Friday evening.
The group said the impact was limited, affecting only specific providers, and the cause was unclear. “Data are consistent with a cyberattack or unplanned technical incident on affected networks as opposed to a purposeful withdrawal or shutdown incident,” it said in a tweet.