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Report: Iranian-Briton arrested for tipping off media about Mahsa Amini protests

Regime-controlled Fars News says detainee was ‘a source for hostile television channels,’ including BBC, and ‘incited civil disobedience and rioting’

British-Iranian women take part in a demonstration opposite the Houses of Parliament in central London on November 19, 2022, ahead of Iran's fixture against England in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.(ISABEL INFANTES / AFP)
British-Iranian women take part in a demonstration opposite the Houses of Parliament in central London on November 19, 2022, ahead of Iran's fixture against England in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.(ISABEL INFANTES / AFP)

PARIS, France — A British-Iranian dual national has been arrested for tipping off foreign media, including the BBC, about protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, Iran’s regime-controlled Fars news agency reported late Wednesday.

The BBC, which broadcasts in Persian as part of its World Service, has repeatedly complained of threats and intimidation against its journalists and their families at home and abroad which it has blamed on Iran.

Iran, which does not accept joint citizenship, has accused Britain of fanning the two months of protests since Amini’s death in morality police custody, by hosting hostile Persian-language media.

The Fars report gave no name, gender or date of arrest, saying only that the arrest was made by the intelligence services and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran’s third city Isfahan.

Fars described the detainee as “a source for hostile television channels, namely the BBC and Iran International,” the latter being a Saudi-linked channel operating out of London.

The detainee had a “direct link and family ties with some of the channels’ journalists,” the news agency added.

“Beyond working with these television channels, this individual communicated and cooperated with certain counter-revolutionary elements abroad and incited civil disobedience, rioting, security breaches, vandalism and the destruction of public property during the recent riots.”

Iran has called in the British ambassador in Tehran, Simon Shercliff, four times since the protests started.

Earlier this month, Britain hauled in a senior Iranian diplomat in London after what it described as death threats against journalists living in the UK.

Two British-Iranian journalists working in Britain for Iran International had received “credible” death threats from Iran’s security forces, the channel said.

Volant Media, the channel’s London-based broadcaster, said the pair had received “death threats from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”

Iran International has provided extensive coverage of the protests sparked by Amini’s death on September 16 after she was arrested for allegedly breaching Iran’s strict dress code for women.

Iran has arrested 40 foreign nationals during the wave of “riots,” judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi said in comments carried by its Mizan Online news website on Tuesday.

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