Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi has announced the arrest of several “election disruptors” in Tehran.
ISNA reports that on Sunday night, Moslehi said: “The detainees were in contact with people abroad through cyberspace and were arrested after the investigation of their activities was completed.”
Moslehi said the detainees were “trying to carry out U.S. plots against the ninth parliamentary election process through virtual and social networks” but he added, however, that they “were not a significant group capable of doing anything of consequence.”
Meanwhile, the Reporters Club, an offshoot of the Iranian state radio and television network, announced that four people have been arrested and charged with “building networks and establishing the mechanisms for acting against national security.”
The report indicated that “the detainees had received from foreigners advanced equipment to carry out secret communications in order to organize special cells to issue internet rallies and create disturbances in the country.”
The Reporters Club added that the detainees are charged with having links to several embassies and “anti-Revolutionary elements based in autonomous regions in the neighbouring countries.”
The names of the detainees have not been announced so far, but Iranian media have reported the arrest of Saeed Madani, a sociology scholar, and two journalists, Ehsan Hoshmandi and Fatemeh Kheradmand, in the past two days.
Iranian parliamentary elections are slated for March, and, given the mass demonstrations that followed the controversial 2009 elections, the government is wary of of another possible outbreak of protests.