The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says Iranian security forces have raided journalists’ homes in recent days in an attempt to intimidate critics ahead of next month’s parliament elections.
Members of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) raided the Tehran homes of journalists Maziar Khosravi, Yasaman Khaleghian, Moloud Hajizadeh, and Yaghma Fakhshami, CPJ said in a statement on February 5, citing news reports and a person familiar with the cases.
According to those sources, documents were confiscated and equipment was seized in the January 26 and February 3 raids. The IRGC agents did not make any arrests or declare a reason for the raids.
The raids come weeks before Iran is scheduled to hold general elections on February 21.
“Raiding journalists’ homes in the run-up to an election shows that Iranian authorities are intent on stifling discussion and intimidating critics,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour.
“If authorities want to show that the country’s elections are open and fair, they must allow journalists to work without fear,” he said, calling on Iranian authorities to cease raiding reporter’s homes and return laptop, phones, notebooks, and all other material confiscated in recent raids.
The person who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity said that IRGC agents told all four the four journalists they would be contacted for questioning in the coming days.