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In Effort to Quell Protests, Iran Regime Arrests Journalists, Athletes, Celebrities

Journalist Niloufar Hamedi (R), Singer Shervin Hajipour (C), Journalist Elaheh Mohammadi (L)

The Islamic Republic has been continuing its crackdown against Iranian protesters in the streets, arresting journalists and singers mentioning or reporting on the protests and the story of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. 

It has become increasingly difficult to get direct accounts from Iran as the government continues shutting off the internet, prohibiting protesters from organizing, communicating and posting about the ongoing protests. 

According to reports from Iran Thursday, at least 20 journalists were arrested by security forces. 

One of the journalists detained was Elaheh Mohammadi, who worked for the Ham-Mihan newspaper and was detained for covering the funeral of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Iranian woman whose death sparked the protests. 

On social media, Mohammadi’s husband stated that his wife had called him to tell him that she was being held in Tehran’s Evin Prison and that authorities had not explained the reason why. 

The coverage of Amini’s death by Mohammadi in the town of Saqqez in the Kurdistan province revealed mourners shouting slogans and removing their headscarves in defiance of the Islamic Republic’s dress rules.

The Committee for Protecting Journalists, claimed that on Thursday of this week, 28 journalists had been arrested, including several from the Iranian reformist newspaper Shargh and several others from Mukrian, a Kurdish news agency, including its editor, Masoud Kurdpur. 

Many of the journalists were taken into custody during post-midnight raids on their homes and had their electronic devices confiscated by security forces. 

The troops that arrested these journalists did not identify which agency they represented nor produced arrest warrants or explanation of charges.

Niloufar Hamadi, an Iranian journalist who first broke the story of Mahsa Amini’s death, was also arrested by security forces, prompting Harry Potter Novelist J.K. Rowling to condemn Iranian officials for their “human rights violations.” 

According to reports, the journalist was held in solitary confinement after “breaking the news that Amini, 22, was in hospital following her arrest” and for publishing “a photo of her parents hugging each other in the hospital corridor, which spread rapidly online.”

In addition to journalists being arrested, prominent Iranian singers and poets like Mona Borzoiri were arrested, after posting songs, photos, videos, and poems in support of demonstrations. Experts familiar with the detainment of individuals in Iran say that many will face brutal interrogation, torture, and death based on trumped-up charges like “spying for foreign services,” and trying to “bring down the country.” 

The Islamic Republic has responded to the outcry from journalists and Western officials by accusing the United States and foreign-based media operations of fomenting violence through journalists, writers, celebrities, singers, media, and social media. 

Most notably, regime forces detained acclaimed Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour on Thursday.

Hajipour, whose popular song “Baraye” (translates to: “For”) had over 35 million views on Instagram before his arrest, had his video taken down by the regime.

Officials from the Islamic security forces have argued that the journalists have “fabricated” claims about the death of Amini protesters, circulating them from the “enemy.” 

After giving his address to the United Nations, Iran President Ebrahim Raisi told reporters that the government would crack down against protesters without any leniency and not stop until such movements were quelled. 

Commanders from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have come against the protests, calling on citizens to leave the streets and cease any anti-regime activities or suffer the wrath of the terrorist militia. 

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