World / Middle East

Iran's hardliners mark hostage anniversary with 'infiltration' warning

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-11-05 09:18


The dispute between Rouhani and hardliners appeared to escalate on Wednesday over the arrest of at least two journalists, Isa Saharkhiz and Ehsan Mazandarani, two days ago.

Advocacy group Reporters Without Borders on Wednesday said two other journalists, Afarin Chitsaz and Saman Safarzaie, had been arrested. Reuters was unable to immediately confirm those two arrests.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, another advocacy group, said at least five reporters had been arrested in recent days, and called on Iran to immediately release all detained journalists.

Iranian authorities have also recently arrested an American-Lebanese man who they said was linked to the U.S. military and a U.S.-Iranian businessman while he was visiting family in Iran.

A member of the Revolutionary Guards' Intelligence Organization said on Tuesday the arrest of an unspecified number of journalists and online activists was part of a security operation to destroy "an infiltration network related to Western countries".

"They were trying to save the U.S. image and make society ready for the official presence of the Americans in Iran," the man, identified only as Asef, told state TV by phone, saying this process was "designed and funded by American spy agencies".

Hamid Rasaei, a hardline Iranian MP, was quoted by Fars as saying "we managed to capture the U.S. embassy in the early years of the Revolution but there are still espionage dens in our newspapers."


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