‘A new wave of repression is imminent in Iran’

Akbar Ganji writes: [N]ow that Khamenei is no longer concerned about military attacks, he is constantly talking about “the enemy’s agents”. New repression and a crackdown on the opposition may be on their way. There is a danger that the judiciary may arrest some leading reformists, force them to “confess” that they work for the US, and broadcast the “confessions” on national television.

Fars, the news agency controlled by the IRGC, published a letter on 5 October from 11 hardline majles deputies in which they claimed that Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who has been incarcerated for 445 days, “is a professional spy and US intelligence agent in Iran” and that it was “imperative that the judiciary allow broadcast of his confessions to inform the nation”.

Even the mere talk of “films” of Rezaian’s confessions is evidence for my analysis of Khamenei’s thinking. The arrest of another Iranian-American Siamak Namazi last week by Revolutionary Guards intelligence further indicates where developments are leading. In all likelihood, Namazi will be described as an “agent” of American influence.

In yet another episode, former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw’s tourism visit to Iran has drawn harsh reaction from conservatives. They claim this trip “is part of a project to influence [Iran]” and aims to “test Iran’s public opinion in the aftermath of the nuclear deal.”

Mashregh, a website operated by the Revolutionary Guard has stated that American-Iranians “are the invisible conduits of American influence in Iran”, implying that any dual-national coming to Iran must be treated as a potential spy.

But the most important targets to be singled out, as agents of American influence, are domestic critics of the IRI. Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda, who leads Friday prayers in Mashhad and is a member of the Assembly of Experts, has stated that the looming election constitutes a likely avenue of American influence, with the Americans using as spies those have a difference of opinion with Khamenei and his followers. [Continue reading…]

EA Worldview reports: Iranian authorities re-arrested prominent journalist Isa Saharkhiz on Monday on charges of “insulting the Supreme Leader” and “propaganda against the regime”.

A post on Saharkhiz’s Facebook page announced the arrest and posted photos of a search warrant for his home.

Saharkhiz, a journalist for more than 30 years and a former Deputy Minister of Culture, was seized in July 2009 amid the protests over the disputed Presidential election. He was released in October 2013.

Saharkhiz’s son Mehdi wrote of the arrest on Twitter and said his father had started a hunger strike.

In another arrest on Tuesday, Ehsan Mazandarani, the managing director of the Farhikhtegan newspaper, was detained for “security reasons”. [Continue reading…]

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