TEHRAN, Iran – Iran has arrested seven people linked to a U.S.-funded Farsi-language radio station for allegedly fomenting unrest, and accused some of the suspects of working for American spy agencies, Iranian state media reported Sunday.
The official IRNA news agency and Iran’s state radio both cited an Intelligence Ministry statement saying the suspects played a role in violent anti-government demonstrations in Tehran on Dec. 27.
IRNA quoted the ministry statement as saying “some of them have been officially hired by the U.S. intelligence agencies.” State radio said the suspects were trained outside of Iran in sabotage, disturbing public order, spreading rumors and overthrowing a government by soft means.
It also said the seven planned to take part in demonstrations expected on Thursday, when Iran marks the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
It did not identify the suspects or say when they were detained.
The U.S.-sponsored Radio Farda, meaning “Radio Tomorrow,” is Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Farsi-language service. The station, which has bases in Prague, Czech Republic, and Washington, D.C., has been broadcasting since 2003.
RFE/RL’s spokesman in Prague, Julian Knapp, expressed concern over the arrests, but said the station has no independent confirmation of them.
“Since the contested elections last June, there has been a harsh crackdown on independent media and civil society in Iran,” he said in a statement.