Mohammad Hosseiny

Mohammad Hosseiny, the Iranian Minister of Culture and Guidance, has commented on the recent arrest of more than a dozen journalists, saying their charges are not related to the media.

The Mehr News Agency reported today that Hosseiny said: “This is a case in the hands of Security Forces because their charges are definitely not media related.”

He stressed that the investigations in this matter are not yet complete and an official announcement will be made as soon as all aspects of the case are clarified.

Yesterday, 10 journalists, who are all connected with official newspapers and magazines in the country, were arrested. Another two were arrested on Saturday January 26.

Another two journalists, Keyvan Mehregan and Hossein Yaghchi, were also arrested today, January 28.

The Fars News Agency reported today that unofficial statements hint at charges connected with “links to foreign media” and taking part in journalism and photography training projects and “delivering them to BBC.”

Mehr has also said that the arrests are linked to charges of collaboration with “anti-Revolutionary, Persian-speaking media.”

Iran Prosecutor and judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei was quoted as saying earlier that: “We have received intelligence from reliable sources revealing that a number of current journalists, in addition to writing in national newspapers, are courting Westerners and Anti-Revolutionaries.”

He warned that anyone arrested for such charges will be considered a “traitor.”

The sudden wave of journalist arrests has been challenged by Reporters Without Borders; the group emphasizes that the oppression of Iranian journalists that began the day after the 2009 presidential election continues today.