Iranian security forces have arrested a woman accused of being an "agent" of the London-based television broadcaster and of fomenting the current wave of protests, local media reported on November 10, amid a state crackdown on a nationwide wave of protests.
Persian-language Iran International TV tweeted that the woman, Elham Afkari, never “worked for or collaborated” with the network.
The semiofficial Fars news agency said Afkari was detained as she tried to “flee the country,” and that she was accused of “inviting youth to riot and creating terror among the people."
Her brother Saeed Afkari said on Twitter that she was arrested in the southern city of Shiraz along with her husband and three-year-old daughter.
Afkari is the sister of 27-year-old wrestler Navid Afkari, who was executed in September 2020 after being convicted of stabbing a security guard to death during anti-government protests in 2018.
Afkari’s family and activists have said Navid was tortured into making a false confession, which the Iranian judiciary denies. His execution led to domestic and international condemnations.
Afkari’s arrest comes a day after Iranian Intelligence Minister Ismail Khatib called Iran International a "terrorist" organization.
Any kind of connection with the Saudi-funded media outlet “will be considered to be tantamount to entering the field of terrorism and a threat to national security,” he warned.
Earlier, Volant Media, Iran International’s broadcaster, said two British-Iranian journalists working in Britain had received "death threats from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps."
It described the threats as a "dangerous escalation" of attempts by the Iranian regime to silence the media in the face of nationwide protests.
Volant Media said that the two journalists received formal "warnings of credible threats to their lives," and those of their families, from London’s Metropolitan Police.
Iran has been rocked by a wave of protests since the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Tehran’s morality police. The largely peaceful demonstrations have grown to become the biggest challenge to Iran’s regime since the 2009 protest movement.
The unrest triggered a heavy-handed crackdown in which security forces killed more than 300 people. Several thousand people were also arrested.