Ali Dehghan has become the latest journalist to be swept up in a wave of arrests by Iranian authorities, despite widespread outrage over the past few days both inside and outside Iran.
The Bulletin News website, a site linked to Islamic Republic security bodies, announced that Ali Dehghan, who edits the economy section of Bahar daily, was arrested on a judicial warrant for being “a media element close to a number seditious groups.”
Iranian authorities refer to the 2009 election protesters as “seditious”, and many who challenged the legitimacy of the last presidential elections are now serving stiff sentences in Iranian jails.
Dehghan has a background in working with several reformist newspapers such as Shargh, Etemad and Bahar, and he has also worked for the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA).
This is the first time Dehghan has been arrested by Iranian authorities.
He joins the list of more than a dozen other journalists who’ve been arrested since Saturday January 26.
Nearly 200 Iranian journalists from inside and outside Iran have issued a statement calling on the Iranian judiciary to immediately release their colleagues and prove their respect for the rule of law.
The announcement expressed concern about statements from Iran Prosecutor Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, who cited “reliable sources” when he said that a number of journalists are collaborating with “the West and Anti-Revolutionaries.” Such allegations could potentially lead to serious charges and sentencing.
Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi has also issued a statement condemning the arrests and maintaining that these state actions are aimed at promoting an atmosphere of intimidation to curb freedom of press.
The intelligence ministry also issued a statement today January 30 saying the detained journalists are "part of a network linked to arrogant powers" and that more arrests may be still in the picture.
Iranian authorities often refer to Western powers as "arrogant powers."