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Iran Detains Seven Suspected Of 'Spying' For U.S.


Opposition protesters took to the streets ahead of the Ashura holiday in late December.

Opposition protesters took to the streets ahead of the Ashura holiday in late December.

Iran's state media says Tehran has arrested seven people allegedly linked to RFE/RL's Radio Farda and accused some of them of working for U.S. spy agencies.

State radio and the official IRNA news agency reported today that the suspects played a key role in provoking protesters during a violent antigovernment demonstration in Tehran in late December.

IRNA quoted an Intelligence Ministry statement as saying seven people "linked to the counterrevolutionaries, the Zionist media, and elements of the sedition" had been arrested.

It did not name them or say when they were detained.

Iranian authorities say the seven people were allegedly planning to provoke riots on February 11, the day the country marks the anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution.

In a statement, RFE/RL said it was "very concerned" to learn of the arrests, but that it has no information on the arrests other than that from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and state-controlled media.

"Since the contested elections last June, there has been a harsh crackdown on independent media and civil society in Iran -- hundreds of journalists have been arrested, and media outlets have been censored and closed," the statement added. "These arrests seem to be the latest evidence of this increasing pressure on media and the freedom of expression."

compiled from RFE/RL and agency reports
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