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At Least 20 Arrested In Dezful In Iran's Social Media Clamp-Down

Over 20 Ahwazi Arabs, including an academic and a poet, were arrested in Dezful in the early hours of Tuesday morning (23 August) as part of the Iranian regime's clamp-down on social media.

It is unclear why the men were arrested, but the Gherdab website, which is associated with Iran's Revolutionary Guards, claims 450 social media users have been arrested or summoned. Gherdab claims they were arrested for immorality, insulting Islam and for "crimes involving fashion", usually relating to immodest dress or modelling.

Instagram, Telegram and WhatsApp users have been targeted. It is unclear how or why the security services identified those arrested, but they all now face trial.

President Rouhani has demanded that foreign social media organisations hand over data on their Iranian users by May 2017.

Facebook and Twitter are banned in Iran, although access is available through censor-evading software. More than half of Iran's 40 million internet users use the Telegram instant messaging app.

Ahwaz News has received a list of those allegedly arrested by the security services:
Dr Ashour Khazraji, specialist in Arabic literature
Karim Saedi
Jamil Sawari
Hamid Sawari
Ali Chenabi
Qasim Chenani son of Marjan
Kamal Sawari son of Reza
Saad Abidawi son of Mehbas
Ahmed Haidari
Mukhtar Silawi son of Hanoon
Mohammed Sawari son of Mezeher
Jassim Gharbawi son Mohammed
Qasim Gharbawi son of Muhammad
Fadel Abidawi son Qais
Seyed Mousa Musawi son of Seyed Rahim
Saeed Haidari, poet and son of Mehdi