An unnamed British-Iranian national was arrested in Iran’s Isfahan province on Wednesday for allegedly sharing information with foreign news channels, Iranian state media reported.
“The Revolutionary Guards intelligence organization arrested a British-Iranian citizen who was communicating with the BBC and Iran International,” the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network said, before adding that the person was born in Britain.
Tehran has accused foreign-based Persian-language broadcasters of supporting a nationwide protest movement that has lasted more than two months and was sparked by the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody. Tehran has also arrested up to seven French nationals, including two on November 12.
The Iranian regime has become increasingly obsessed with the role of London-based satellite channels broadcasting into Iran, claiming they are the work of foreign agents and part of a broader conspiracy to spread lies and bring the government to its knees. BBC Persian, Iran International and Monoto, as well as a group of anonymous channels on Telegram, have reported on the protests in Farsi.
The regime said any communication with a foreign-based news channel could be considered a crime. More than 65 Iran-based journalists were arrested while a newspaper was shut down for publishing a report on the death of a 10-year-old that contradicted the official account.
Two Iran International journalists have been warned by the Metropolitan Police to take precautions as London police believe there is a credible threat to their lives.
The arrest of the unnamed British-Iranian dual citizen underscores the risks protesters and citizen journalists take every day when using their cameras on the streets or attempting to upload videos. With few independent journalists allowed into the country and internal media heavily censored, Iranians are increasingly relying on foreign channels for information about the protests. Rallies are currently strongest in Iranian Kurdistan, but there appear to be more labor strikes across the country.
The UN Human Rights Council will meet on Thursday at the request of Germany and Iceland to vote on whether to send a fact-finding mission to Iran into the protests and human rights abuses.
On the eve of the meeting, Narges Mohammadi, arguably Iran’s most famous women’s rights activist and political prisoner, wrote a letter addressed to the UN, emphasizing the Iranian nation’s desire for “democracy and a normal relationship with the world” and calling for “documentation of the killings and repressions by the regime of the Islamic Republic”.
The George and Amal Clooney Foundation also issued a statement saying it supports an independent investigation into human rights abuses in the country.
“The girls taking to the streets in Iran have inspired the world with their courage,” Amal Clooney said, adding, “States should now set up an independent international investigative body to collect evidence of the abuses suffered so that justice can be done.” happens to be possible one day.”
Redress, an NGO that pursues legal claims on behalf of torture survivors, along with Richard Ratcliffe, husband of former dual nationality prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, has submitted a report to the UN detailing the experiences of 26 victims of Iranian hostage diplomacy be described in detail. The report linked Iran’s hostage-taking practice to the impunity with which Iran has suppressed protests over the past two months.
Iranian human rights groups say more than 400 people, including dozens of children, have been killed during the 10-week protests in different regions of Iran.
Reuters contributed to this report