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Guards Commander Says 'Rioters' With Israeli Connections Were Arrested

Brigadier General Mohammad-Esmail Kowsari Acting Commander of the Guards' Sarallah Headquarters in Tehran. File photo

In an interview with Tasnim News Agency on Sunday a commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards claimed that a number of "rioters" who were arrested in the recent protests have "confessed to connections with Israel".

Answering a question on whether there were individuals among the arrested protesters who were connected to Israel, Brigadier General Mohammad-Esmail Kowsari said: "When the authorities say it, there is definitely evidence. These individuals accepted this charge when they were interrogated. The matter is under investigation to clarify all its aspects."

Kowsari who is the Acting Commander of the Guards' Sarallah Headquarters in Tehran alleged that those who "committed crimes and set fire [to buildings] have been identified and many of them have been arrested".

Many Iranian dissidents and protesters who in the past confessed to having been related to foreign governments later said their so-called "confessions" had been extracted under torture or duress.

This year it was revealed that dozens of people were charged with involvement in the murder of Iranian nuclear scientists in the early 2010s made confessions under torture, so that the Intelligence Ministry could get a bigger budget.

Khamenei and other Iranian officials have repeatedly alleged that those who participated in the protests were "thugs" and "rioters" instigated and supported by foreign powers, Iran's exiled royal family and the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization.

In a statement on November 27 Iran's Intelligence Ministry said it arrested eight individuals who had been trained with CIA funds in different countries to act as "citizen-reporters" in Iran.

Given total government control of media in Iran and biased reporting on dissent, many Iranians published videos of the protests on social media or sent them directly to Persian language media abroad.