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Iranian Activists, Journalists Receive Threatening E-mails

Iran has stepped up its pressure on activists using the Internet

Iran has stepped up its pressure on activists using the Internet

A number of Iranian activists and journalists based inside and outside the country have told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda they have been threatened in anonymous e-mails.

The e-mails, which have been sent since February 13, warned activists of their “illegal activities” and said they will be dealt with according to Iranian Islamic laws. The e-mails claim that a list has been created including names and e-mail addresses of individuals accused of working for the goals of “foreigners“ and “seditionists,” which are terms used by Iranian officials to refer to the members of the opposition Green Movement.
The e-mails were sent ahead of the planned February 14 “silent protest” by the opposition. Opposition sources claim that were some scattered protests in the Iranian capital on February 14. Some citizens who took to the streets of Tehran were reportedly arrested. The reports cannot be independently confirmed. Several citizens in Tehran told Persian Letters that they witnessed a heavy presence of security forces in central Tehran.

Iran appears to have stepped up its use of the Internet to pressure activists and scrutinize the activities of its citizens. In recent months, several activists have been reportedly warned and sentenced to prison over their postings on Facebook. In the past, the Iranian authorities have used text messages to warn people not to take to the streets.

Iran's cyber police unit said last month it had "destroyed" a Facebook page that organized an online beauty competition, and arrested its four administrators.
Earlier this month, a reporter from the BBC’s Persian Service was questioned via the Internet by intelligence officials who had arrested her sister in Tehran.

Last December, Iran’s Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi publicly admitted hacking into the e-mail of opposition members.
Moslehi was quoted by Iranian news agencies as saying that e-mails were the most important tool of communication between opposition members during the 2009 postelection protests and that the Intelligence Ministry could break into them and defeat “the enemy."
-- Golnaz Esfandiari

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.