Insider news & Analysis in Iran

By INU Staff 

INU - As the May presidential elections approach in Iran, the regime is cracking down again on social media users and activists. It has been reported that several activists are being held on charges of obscenity and security charges according to the country’s judiciary.

The deputy chief of the judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie, said: “Some of these people have been arrested on national security charges and some ... for committing crimes against public decency and publishing obscene content.” 

Last months, twelve individuals were arrested. They manage pro-government and reformist discussion groups on “Telegram” – a popular messing app. So far the detainees have not had a court appearance and the authorities have provided no information about their current situation. It has however confirmed that it is to do with dissent. The Iranian Minister of Intelligence said: “We do not bother people unless they intend to harm the regime.”

According to local media, the discussion groups on the app were closed and taken down not long after the arrests were made. However, a few days later one of the discussion had been restored – although there has been no new activity on it for several weeks. 

Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, the Deputy of the Attorney-General of Iran, stated that a cyberspace campaign has started and indicated that there are now approximately 18,000 people who volunteer to monitor it.

He also said on 8th February this year that “any violation by websites and social networking will be reported to the General-Attorney Office as the main sources for the committee that determines the extensive criminal content tabs, to prosecute the violating websites.”  

Current President Hassan Rouhani said that he ordered the ministers of interior and intelligence to follow up on these arrest, adding that he had not ordered them. He said: “Based on the intelligence minister’s report, they haven’t committed a crime.” he told reporters.

This is proof that the rulers of Iran are corrupt to the core. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) operates on its own and is not answerable to the Iranian government. 

The rulers of the Islamic are deeply concerned about the people’s use of Telegram. It poses a threat because it allows the people to express themselves and can be used as a tool for dissent. There are over 20 million users in Iran and authorities want to oblige channels with more than 5,000 members to register with authorities. 

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