Tehran’s police chief has announced that a group of young people set fire to the door of a mosque and attacked a number of banks “under the influence of an atmosphere created by the internet and satellite television channels.”
The police chief, Hossein Rahimi claimed that those responsible for setting fire to the mosque have been arrested.
Iran’s authoritarian government, which tries hard to control the flow of information and public discourse, has not been able to fully control the internet or block Persian radio and TV broadcasts on satellite from abroad.
On Tuesday, the Young Journalist’s Club affiliated with the state broadcaster put a short video on its website, showing the act of arson.
In the video a young man writes “re-start” on the ground at the entrance of the Javad al A’emmeh Mosque located at the Independence Boulevard and then sets fire to the door.
According to ILNA news agency, Rahimi rejected reports that the culprits belonged to a Satan worship cult.
He insisted that the perpetrators acted were seduced and instructed by some satellite TV channels from abroad.
Rahimi gave the same explanation for alleged attacks on some banks by another unknown group, who he claimed have also been arrested.
In recent days, video clips circulated on social media showing unknown people breaking bank windows and attacking ATM machines.
In these videos, the attackers claim that they have been asked by Mohammad Hosseini to act.
Hosseini is a former program host and comedian of Iran’s state broadcaster, who is now living abroad. He has launched a campaign called re-start, asking people in the country to attack banks, mosques and Basiji centers.
He has claimed these actions are aimed to change the regime in Iran.