Iran has arrested the sister of a wrestler who was controversially executed in 2020 and accused her of being an “agent” of the London-based news organisation Iran International, which Tehran has designated as a “terrorist organisation”.
The Iranian intelligence minister, Esmaeil Khatib, 61, has also apparently threatened the United Kingdom with terrorist attacks.
Elham Afkari, the sister of Navid Afkari – controversially executed in 2020 at the age of 27 despite appeals from around the world including from the International Olympic Committee – was arrested on Thursday, 10th November, and accused of being an “agent” for Iran International, reportedly her employer.
Saeed Afkari, brother of Elham and Navid, wrote on his Twitter account that Elham Afkari had been arrested in Shiraz along with her husband and child, both unnamed.
The Tasnim news agency, affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), claimed that Elham Afkari was one of Iran International’s primary “agents” and that she was arrested while fleeing to the Iranian border.
Tasnim and other pro-regime news agencies have said that she is one of the “main agents of the Iran International network” inside Iran and “played a role” in the recent protests.
Iran International is a London-based Iranian news organisation that has been giving a voice to protesters and journalists standing up to the regime since the death of Mahsa Amini.
Khatib said in an interview with the Supreme Leader’s website on Wednesday that Iran was designating Iran International as “a terrorist organisation,” adding that its employees and anyone else affiliated with it would be targeted by the Ministry of Intelligence.
Iran’s intelligence minister also apparently threatened the United Kingdom with allowing terrorist operations to be carried out on British soil after the country reportedly decried threats allegedly made against two London-based Iran International journalists, according to Iran International.
Iran International said on 8th November: “In reaction to the release of information about IRGC’s foiled plot against UK-based Iran International journalists, Iran’s Intelligence Minister says ‘the Islamic Republic will not commit itself to countering insecurities’ in Britain and that ‘the UK will pay for its actions.'”
Volant Media, the parent company of Iran International, reportedly said in a statement: “The Metropolitan Police have now formally notified both journalists that these threats represent an imminent, credible and significant risk to their lives and those of their families. Other members of our staff have also been informed directly by the Metropolitan Police of separate threats.”
Iran International has reported that the British House of Commons is pushing to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organisation “following a threat to the lives of two Iran International journalists”.
Conservative British MP Bob Blackman reportedly said in a House of Commons meeting on Tuesday: “British-Iranian reporters who are now sited in the UK have been issued with credible information by the police that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps threatens their lives. What more does IRGC have to do before we proscribe them in their entirety?”
Blackman added: “Thousands of Iranians have been arrested for just demonstrating their support for people who have been murdered. I have been supplied with a long list of people who have been sentenced to death just for protesting.”
And Labor MP John Spellar reportedly said: “Today we’ve had members on both sides of the UK House raising this question to follow our allies in the US and to ban IRGC who are protectors of the Iranian cleric-fascist regime.”
Iranian forces have been cracking down on waves of civil disorder following the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, from Saqqez, Kurdistan Province, who was on a visit to Tehran when she was arrested by morality police, accused of violating hijab rules on 13th September.
She was allegedly beaten while in custody and spent the following days in a coma in the hospital before succumbing in the ICU on 16th September.
The clinic where she was treated said in a now-deleted social media post that she had been admitted brain-dead.
Alleged medical scans of her skull leaked by hackers showed that she had suffered bone fractures, haemorrhages, and brain oedema.
Independent Iranian media have claimed that Mahsa’s medical records showing her history of heart disease were faked by the Iranian government.
Numbers differ regarding how many people have been killed since the protests began.
The protests have so far claimed at least 328 lives, including 45 minors, and injured at least 1,160, according to independent estimates.
It is also understood that over 14,825 people have so far been arrested.