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Iran arrests former politician who criticized Khamenei over stalled nuclear talks

Reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh detained after criticizing Iranian supreme leader online; 2 dissident filmmakers also detained

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks on the anniversary of the death of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, shown in the poster at top center, at his mausoleum in Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2022. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks on the anniversary of the death of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, shown in the poster at top center, at his mausoleum in Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2022. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran has arrested a leading reformist figure and two filmmakers on security charges, according to Friday reports.

Mostafa Tajzadeh, a former politician and activist, was arrested for allegedly acting against Iranian national security and “spreading lies to disturb public opinion,” Reuters reported, citing Iran’s semi-official Mehr news outlet.

Tajzadeh criticized Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week, saying he was responsible for some problems in Iran, including its failure to revive the nuclear deal.

The government is dealing with protests over food prices, and negotiations with world powers on the nuclear accord have been stalled for months. Resolving the nuclear dispute would ease sanctions against Iran, bringing economic benefits.

“Under the current deplorable economic conditions and public dissatisfaction, the failure to revive the nuclear deal has destructive consequences,” Tajzadeh said on Twitter. “Its responsibility primarily lies with the Leader.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if the tweet was what prompted his arrest.

Tajzadeh spent years in prison after opposing the disputed 2009 election in Iran. He once served as Iran’s deputy interior minister.

Iranian authorities also arrested filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleamad in a separate case, according to the government’s IRNA news agency.

The dissidents were also hit with security charges, and accused of associating with anti-government organizations.

Rasoulof and Aleamad were part of a group that had urged Iranian security forces in a letter to stand down during protests over a building collapse in May that killed dozens and was blamed on corruption and government dysfunction.

Iranian authorities previously arrested and then released two other filmmakers who signed onto the same letter.

Both filmmakers have had run-ins with Iranian authorities in the past, Reuters said.

Rasoulof’s films on the impact of the death penalty in Iran have won international prizes.

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