TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian state television has shown footage of Ruhollah Zam, an exiled opposition figure the Revolutionary Guards said they arrested in a “sophisticated” operation.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps announced the arrest of Zam on Monday, describing him as a “counter-revolutionary” who was “directed by France’s intelligence service.”
Zam reportedly lived in exile in Paris, but the Guards did not specify when or where he was arrested.
A short video clip aired by state television late Monday shows a stocky man sitting in the back of a car blindfold and handcuffed.
The same man then appears sitting in an armchair next to the flags of Iran and the Revolutionary Guards, the Islamic Republic’s ideological army.
He identifies himself as Zam and “the founder of Amadnews,” a Telegram channel that the Iranian authorities accuse of having played a major role in a wave of protests that broke out in December 2017.
The man then expresses regret for “what has happened in the past three or four years.”
He says he was “wrong” to have trusted governments, “in particular trusting the French government.”
As he speaks in the second clip, the man does not appear to be handcuffed and does not look directly into the camera.
“It is not right to trust governments, especially governments that show they do not have good relations with the Islamic Republic,” including the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, he said, before apologizing.
At least 25 people were killed in the unrest that his Telegram channel was accused of fomenting between December 28, 2017 and January 3, 2018.
Telegram shut down Amadnews last year after Iran demanded the messaging service remove the account for inciting an “armed uprising.”
Amnesty International has repeatedly called on Iran to stop broadcasting videos of “confessions” by suspects, saying they “violate the defendants’ rights.”