Issa Saharkhiz and Ehsan Mazandarani, two of the Iranian journalists arrested in the recent backlash against journalists that followed warnings by Iran’s Supreme Leader against “foreign infiltrators”, are now being tried for “actions against National Security”, even though the investigators had slapped them with the charge of “propaganda against the regime”.

Issa Saharkhiz - Ehsan Mazandarani

Issa Saharkhiz – Ehsan Mazandarani

The prosecutor in their case has decided that the charge of “acting against National Security” should be added to the others against them, and the judge has approved the prosecutor’s decision.

Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabayi told the Tasnim Website: “In this matter, there was a difference of opinion between the investigators and the prosecutor, and finally Judge Salavati decided in favour of the prosecutor.”

“The investigators believed the actions of these two journalists only added up to propaganda against the regime,” Tabatabayi said; “However, the prosecutor maintained that they also engaged in actions against National Security through assembly and insulting government officials.”

He added that publishing falsehoods is another charge faced by the defendants.

Now that two months have elapsed since the time of their arrest, he said, the court has to decide to either renew their arrest warrant or issue another order.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corp claims the journalists were arrested after their actions were monitored over a long period of time and alleges that they are collaborating “with enemy states”.

Saharkhiz’s son has written to the UN Secretary General to protest the arrest of his father, who has a history of arrest by Islamic Republic authorities for his journalistic activities, and also to urge Ban Ki-moon to take action against the continued incarceration and mistreatment of political prisoners and journalists in Iran.