Iran arrests dissident rapper, calls Amini story reporters CIA spies

Iran’s regime charged Hamedi and Mohammadi of being the “primary sources of news for foreign media.” The women are being held in Tehran’s brutal Evin prison.

 Iranian flag flies in front of the UN office building in Vienna (photo credit: REUTERS/LISI NIESNER/FILE PHOTO)
Iranian flag flies in front of the UN office building in Vienna
(photo credit: REUTERS/LISI NIESNER/FILE PHOTO)

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s security forces on Sunday rearrested the popular dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi, who supports the ongoing protests against the clerical regime.

In a separate but related development, the Iranian regime on Friday charged two female journalists with being spies for the CIA.

Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi played a key role in breaking the story of Mahsa Amini, who was allegedly killed in the custody of the morality police.

The two journalists could face the death penalty for alleged espionage. Iran has been gripped by demonstrations since the death of Amini, who was arrested for failing to comply with the Islamic dress code requiring that she cover her hair.

Iran’s regime charged Hamedi and Mohammadi with being the “primary sources of news for foreign media.” The women are being held in Tehran’s brutal Evin Prison. The clerical regime frequently uses questionable charges of espionage to purge dissent and independent media voices in the country.

"Toomaj Salehi and friends are threatened with torture and execution"

In posts on his social media accounts, the German-Iranian dissident Kazem Moussavi wrote “Toomaj and his friends who were arrested with him are threatened with torture and execution.”

 Toomaj Salehi (credit: Wikimedia Commons) Toomaj Salehi (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Regime-controlled Fars News reported Toomaj’s arrest, terming him as one of “the leaders of the riots who promoted violence” on social media.

Fars is affiliated with the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – an entity designated by the US government as a terrorist organization.

“The regime released a manipulated photo of Toomaj blindfolded in the car,” Moussavi said, “perhaps to intimidate protesters who have been taking to the streets for 43 days non-stop – despite unspeakable atrocities and yesterday’s renewed threat by Revolutionary Guard chief Hossein Salami against protesters using the human rights slogan ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ [who] fight for regime change.”

The Jerusalem Post reported in September 2021 on Toomaj’s arrest for his reported anti-regime songs.

The regime released him eight days after his September 2021 arrest and ordered a trial. A revolutionary court in the province of Isfahan demanded he appear in early 2022. Toomaj later tweeted that his prison sentence was suspended for a year.

Sheina Vojoudi, a spokeswoman for the Senate of the National Iranian Congress, told the Post that “Toomjaj knew that the Islamic Republic’s security forces were about to arrest him soon. He sent a message to one of his friends, stating ‘we have the power and do not mourn. We are at war [with the Islamic Republic].’”

“Toomjaj knew that the Islamic Republic’s security forces were about to arrest him soon. He sent a message to one of his friends, stating ‘we have the power and do not mourn. We are at war [with the Islamic Republic].”’

Sheina Vojoudi

Vojoudi said that “Toomaj was arrested by 60 Islamic Republic agents in the village of Gerde Bishe in the province of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province. Multiple arrests by the Islamic Republic’s forces are just revealing how weak this brutal regime is.

“Unlike what the Islamic Republic claims, Toomaj wasn’t escaping through the western borders,” she clarified. “He was inside Iran and he was fighting against the Islamic Republic.”

 "His uncle said that Toomaj is under the most severe torture and his life is in danger."