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Iran says 6 arrested for ‘organizing riots’ on anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death

IRGC says suspects ‘active’ in last year’s protests and have criminal records, year after nationwide demonstrations sparked by death of young woman in custody of morality police

TEHRAN, Iran — Authorities in Iran’s southwest have arrested six people accused of “organizing riots” on the first anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death in custody which triggered nationwide protests, state media reported Saturday.

Amini, an Iranian Kurd, died on September 16, 2022, after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the Islamic Republic’s strict dress rules for women.

The intelligence organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Kohgiluyeh and Boyerahmad province suspended five social media pages and arrested the six individuals behind them, it said according to the official news agency IRNA.

The IRGC accused them of “organizing riots and driving insecurity on the internet,” the statement said without identifying the suspects.

“The individuals were active during last year’s riots and have criminal records,” it added.

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“Concurrent with attempts of the enemies to create chaos on the anniversary of last year’s riots, the administrators of these five social media pages were planning gatherings to create disturbances in the coming days.”

Iranians protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the morality police, in Tehran, October 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Middle East Images, File)

Demonstrations across Iran in the months that followed Amini’s death saw hundreds of people killed, including dozens of security personnel, and thousands arrested in connection with what officials labeled as foreign-instigated “riots.”

The latest arrests came days after the IRGC’s intelligence body and Tehran’s intelligence ministry announced they had “identified and dealt a blow” to a “riot-organizing network that was being financially supported by the US State Department.”

Members of the alleged network were accused of attempts “to prepare and present an agenda for rioters to revive the atmosphere of tension and disturbance,” according to a joint statement issued on Wednesday.