Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard has claimed the arrest of an exiled journalist who allegedly helped fan protests that began in December 2017. The initial outrage focused on the government's economic policies.
Agents of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on Monday said that they had captured and returned to Iran an exiled journalist who allegedly incited anti-government protests that began almost two years ago.
Ruhollah Zam, a journalist-turned-activist, had been accused of fomenting unrest via social media. Zam was based in France and other parts of Europe but it is not yet known where he was when at the time of his arrest. His website, AmadNews, carried embarrassing and critical information on Iranian officials.
Initial suggestions appeared to point to him being detained in Iran, as the IRGC said he was held after being "guided into the country."
The operation was a "complex operation using intelligence deception," the IRGC said in a statement carried by on state television.
"Despite being under the guidance of the French intelligence service and under the protection of the US and Zionist [Israeli] intelligence services ... he [Zam] was trapped by the Revolutionary Guards intelligence service," the statement claimed.
AmadNews has since been suspended after Iran accused it of fueling violence during the protests that started in late 2017 and continued across the country and into the following year. However, the media outlet soon re-appeared under a new name.
jsi/msh (Reuters, AFP, AP)