The police chief of western Tehran Province has said that eight people who played a major role in Iran’s mid-November anti-government protests in the townships near the capital have been arrested.
The official police website quoted Mohsen Khancherli December 29 as calling the detainees “the main elements who created disturbances in public order”. He accused them of agitating people on Telegram and Instagram social media apps to take part in in “riots and chaos” in Eslamshahr and Shahriar townships, which were the hotbeds of protests in November. The report does not say when the arrests took place.
Since November 15 when widespread protests began, Islamic Republic security forces have arrests at least 8,600 based on radio Farda estimates. The government continuously announces new arrests, but so far has not published any figures or names.
The United States and international rights organizations have voiced concern over mass detentions and the total information blackout. Amnesty International issued a new statement December 28, voicing serious concern about reports of torture and forced conventions, circulating a petition demanding international action.
On Saturday, the official government news website IRNA also quoted a special security official of eastern Tehran province as saying seven people were arrested, who were involved in protests in Varamin, Pakdasht and Pardis regions.
The government has also been silent about the number of protesters killed. However, reuters on December 23 issued a special report saying around 1,500 people were killed mostly by direct fire from security forces.
Security officials who announce fresh arrests usually claim that the detainees have confessed their guilt. This can mean harsh interrogation methods and torture are being used.
In past cases, it has been proven in many cases that Iran’s intelligence and security bodies use torture widely, as documented by the United Nations reports and other rights organizations.