Iran says dual citizen arrested for ‘attempted rioting’ on protest anniversary

IRGC claims man held ‘several smartphones and dollars of significant value’; second nationality of detainee unclear

Illustrative: Iranian police in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Illustrative: Iranian police in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said Saturday they arrested a man with dual citizenship on allegations of “attempted rioting and to cause disruptions” in the city of Karaj, west of the capital Tehran.

The suspect was found to be in possession of “several smartphones and dollars of significant value,” the IRGC said, according to a report by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

It was unclear which nationality aside from Iranian the suspect held. Several capitals have accused Iran of practicing “hostage diplomacy” — arresting Western nationals to obtain concessions such as the release of detained Iranians abroad.

Iran has upped security and conducted a wave of arrests in the country’s Kurdish region on suspicion of “planning to create chaos” and producing content to serve “hostile media” on the anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini.

The 22-year-old Iranian Kurd died a few days after her arrest by religious police for allegedly violating the strict dress code for women in force since shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Her family says she died from a blow to the head but this is disputed by Iranian authorities.

Anger over her death rapidly expanded into weeks of taboo-breaking protests which saw women tearing off their mandatory headscarves in an open challenge to the Islamic Republic’s system of government under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iranian authorities on Saturday prevented the Amini family from holding a ceremony to commemorate the first anniversary of her death, confining her father to his home, as sporadic protests were reported nationwide despite the heavy security, rights groups said.

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