Three persons have been arrested in Iran on a charge of cooperating with American and Saudi institutions amid the recent protests, reports Iranian media.
According to the IRCG-linked Tasnim News Agency, citing an informed source the three arrestees had formed links with the American institution “Tavana Tech” and Saudi-sponsored television “Iran International”. Citing the source, Tasnim reported the three person have been cooperating with the foreign institutions under the name of “citizen-reporters” amid the recent protests in Iran.
Tavana Tech claims to provide “VPN tools, digital security tips, and other internet tools and news to allow Iranians to safely browse online.” Iran International is a Persian language news television channel headquartered in London, UK.
“The three arrestees have reportedly received considerable amounts of money from Tavana Tech and Iran International to carry out a series of missions, the source said,” reported Tasnim, adding that, “According to the source, the people linked with the foreign institutions used the ‘money laundering’ model to receive money from outsiders and exercised a method known as “news laundering” to feed foreigners with news and information.”
Tasnim said that “using the news laundering method, an internal element refrains from providing the foreign parties with the content they demand in order to avoid being prosecuted for information cooperation with the outsiders. Instead, the internal element uploads the stories and information in certain data bases that have been coordinated with the foreign sides in advance, so that the foreigners can use the data.”
According to Reporters Without Borders, after a month of widespread protests and unrest, Iran now ranks third after China and Myanmar with the world’s highest number of journalist prisoners.
RSF data show that the number of journalists presently detained in Iran has never been higher in decades, even if the previous wave of protests were also severely repressed.
The protests in Iran began following the death of Mahsa Amini. Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a 22-year-old woman from the city of Saqqez in Kurdistan Province, western Iran, who traveled to Tehran with her family, was arrested on Tuesday, September 13, at the entry of Haqqani Highway by the regime’s so-called “Guidance Patrol” and transferred to the “Moral Security” agency.
She was brutally beaten by the morality police and died of her wounds in a Tehran hospital on September 16. The event triggered protests that quickly spread across Iran and rekindled the people’s desire to overthrow the regime.