Iran’s intelligence minister, Heydar Moslehi, told state television Iran had arrested an individual who was armed and on a mission to kill during last week’s antigovernment protests. He also said an individual with ties to the CIA was arrested February 14 after what he described as a period of surveillance. He said that individual was coordinating with the CIA to set up a network.
It wasn’t clear if the two were the same person.
Moslehi’s appearance on state television came amid speculation he might announce the formal arrests of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi, who are reportedly now under house arrest.
He did not. Instead he said the two are receiving guidance and orders from foreign countries that he said had invested heavily in the opposition movement.
Moslehi singled out two close aides to Musavi and Karrubi, Amir Arjomand and Mojtaba Vahedi, who have left Iran and been outspoken in their criticism of the Iranian establishment.
Moslehi accused Arjomand of having ties to the Mujahedin Khalq, an organization that is on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations. He also said Arjomand had been writing Musavi’s statements from France where he is currently residing.
Moslehi blasted Vahedi and accused him of having ties to foreigners and telling opposition leaders “what stance to take and what to say.”In interviews with Radio Farda
, both Arjomand and Vahedi rejected those accusations. Arjomand compared Moslehi to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda.
“Instead of making the country safe, security forces are busy leveling accusations against the opposition and creating cases that are full of lies against influential people,” Arjomand said.
Moslehi also told state television that only a few people had shown up to the February 14 opposition rally, which according to reports and eyewitnesses attracted tens of thousand of people in Tehran and other cities. Two students were killed in clashes in the capital.
Moslehi said most of the people had gone out to shop for the Iranian New Year.
Some members of the opposition movement were quick to react to Moslehi’s comments. Several posted messages online, writing: “We will go shopping on Tuesday.” A reference to a call by the opposition to hold nationwide protests every Tuesday for the next three weeks (until the end of the Iranian year) to pressure the government and keep up the momentum.
-- Golnaz Esfandiari
Addendum: On February 24 a heavy presence of security forces was reported in Tehran. One eyewitness told RFE/RL that some areas in the Iranian capital looked like a "military base."