Trump administration wants Iran to stop blocking Instagram, other social media

The Instagram application is seen on a iPhone on December 1, 2017. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)
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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — 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.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein says the United States 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 Farsi 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."