Iran arrests opposition figure ‘directed by French intel’

Agence France-Presse . Tehran | Published at 12:00am on October 15, 2019

Iran has arrested an opposition figure who had been ‘directed by France’s intelligence service’ and he is now in custody in the Islamic republic, the Revolutionary Guards said on Monday.

Ruhollah Zam, who ran a ‘counter-revolutionary’ Telegram channel, has been detained in a ‘sophisticated and professional operation’ by the Guards’ intelligence organisation, the Guards said in a statement.

Zam reportedly lived in exile in Paris, but the Guards’ statement did not specify when or where he was arrested.

The Guards said he was ‘trapped’ by its intelligence organisation.

It said this was despite the fact he had been ‘directed by France’s intelligence service and supported by intelligence services of America and the Zionist regime (Israel).’

The Guards said they managed to ‘deceive’ foreign services and arrest him by ‘using modern intelligence methods and innovative tactics’.

It said the operation showed Iran’s enemies were ‘lagging behind’ its own intelligence services.

Last year, Iran’s telecoms minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi demanded Telegram shut Zam’s Amadnews channel, saying it was inciting an ‘armed uprising’.

The channel, which had around 1.4 million followers, was later removed.

Telegram was the Islamic republic’s most popular social network with some 40 million users before it was blocked by the judiciary last year.

Authorities had temporarily banned the messaging app during a wave of protests in early 2018, saying it enabled foreign-based ‘counter-revolutionary’ groups to stir tensions.