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Iranian authorities arrest celebrities, artists and foreign citizens during crackdown on protests: report


Iranian authorities intensified their crackdown on protesters following Mahsa Amini’s death, with the Intelligence Ministry announcing the arrest of nine foreign nationals, as well as journalists and celebrities.

“They [the regime] want to silence them. The Achilles heel of this regime has always been the people of it,” Lisa Daftari, a Middle East expert and editor-in-chief of The Foreign Desk, told Fox News Digital.

“They know that people have reached a tipping point and are fueled by disenchantment.

“They are literally risking their lives to tell the world that they don’t want this regime. The regime has doubled down on the use of force necessary to put down these protests. By arresting journalists, poets, singers and celebrities, they are trying to make them an example to stop the protests”.

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People attend a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic’s “morality police” in Tehran, Iran, on September 21, 2022.
(Western Asian News Agency via REUTERS)

The protests began at the funeral of Amini, 22, following his death while in the custody of the morality police. Police claim that she simply slipped into a coma after her arrest. Her family and some witnesses say they saw evidence that the police had beaten her.

As of Friday, the protests reportedly spread to more than 140 Iranian cities, with at least 83 dead and 3,000 arrested in 31 provinces, according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which released an update on Friday about his monitoring of the protests.

The regime tried to quell the protests cutting off access to social media in more than a dozen cities in recent days, a move that has prevented the widespread killing of protesters in previous instances of unrest.

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Over the weekend, police arrested Niloofar Hamedi, the journalist who first reported on Amini’s death, and arrested 28 other journalists, including several from the Iranian reformist newspaper Shargh, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. .

Kurdish activists hold banners during a protest against the death of Iranian Mahsa Amini in Iran at Martyrs' Square in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on September 21, 2022.

Kurdish activists hold banners during a protest against the death of Iranian Mahsa Amini in Iran at Martyrs’ Square in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on September 21, 2022.
(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

The Foreign Desk reported that most of the journalists were detained during post-midnight raids on their homes with electronic devices confiscated.

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Even prominent artists, including poet Mona Borzouei and singer Shervin Hajipour, have been arrested after posting messages in the media in support of the protests. The regime has accused foreign nations of fomenting violence through these celebrities and journalists.

Women carry photographs during a protest over the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, 22, in Iran, in the Kurdish-controlled city of Qamishli in northeastern Syria, on September 26, 2022.

Women carry photographs during a protest over the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, 22, in Iran, in the Kurdish-controlled city of Qamishli in northeastern Syria, on September 26, 2022.
(Reuters/Orhan Qereman)

But the world has shown its support for the protests. The United States responded to Amini’s death by sanctioning the morality police and seven other Iranian security officials “responsible for suppressing nonviolent protests” in the country, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on September 22. . He directly blamed the morality police for Amini’s death.

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“The people of Iran are receiving support from all over the world, especially on social media,” Daftari said. “Iranians inside Iran with a large following are using their popularity and platforms to publicize their support for the protests and that is why the regime is targeting them. They want to silence them.”





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