Iran arrests a journalist for interviewing families of the convicts and a chef, likely over chicken chops

Tehran – Crackdown by the Iranian authorities on dissent and any perceived support for it nationwide anti-government protests reportedly continued with the arrests of a journalist who was interviewing families of death row inmates convicted in connection with the protests and a celebrity chef whose recipe choices were likely seen as a veiled swipe at the strict Islamic regime.

Fourteen Iranians have been sentenced to death in connection with the unrest that was sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death in custody on September 16th. The 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman was arrested by the vice police in Tehran for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s dress code for women.

“Mehdi Beikoghli, head of political service at Etemad daily, was arrested last night,” the newspaper said on its website.

In recent weeks, the journalist, the newest news worker, has been arrested Iraninterviewed several families of people sentenced to death over the protests.

Mascha Amini protest in Istanbul
A protest in support of Iranian anti-government demonstrations takes place in Istanbul, Turkey, on December 31, 2022.

Hakan Akgun /dia images/Getty

Two men, both 23 years old, were executed last month in connection with the demonstrations, which the Iranian authorities call “riots”. Twelve others were sentenced to be hanged, according to an AFP count based on official statements. Half are awaiting a retrial.

Abroad-based rights groups and activists say dozens of other protesters face death penalty charges.

Iran’s top security agency reported last month that more than 200 people, including members of the security forces, have been killed since the protests began, but human rights groups have put the death toll higher. Judicial authorities have indicted more than 2,000 people.

Iranian authorities have also arrested prominent chef and Instagram influencer Navab Ebrahimi, known for his videos promoting Persian cuisine, human rights groups and supporters said Thursday.

Prominent Iranian chef and Instagram influencer Navab Ebrahimi, known for his videos promoting Persian cuisine, can be seen in an image from one of his YouTube tutorials.

YouTube/Navab Ebrahimi

Ebrahimi was arrested in Tehran on Wednesday and taken to the city’s notorious Evin prison, Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) said.

No reason was given for the arrest of Ebrahimi, who had around 2.7 million followers on Instagram who enjoyed his cleverly produced videos showing how to cook classic Persian dishes.

However, social media users said the arrest coincided with him releasing a recipe for making Persian chops on the day Iranian authorities marked the third anniversary of the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani by the United States Revolutionary Guards.

Some anti-regime Iranians have made a habit of posting pictures of chops on the anniversary of his death, alluding to the way he was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq.

“Chef and influencer Navab Ebrahimi was arrested in Tehran. Social media users are speculating that his arrest had something to do with his Instagram story about schnitzel,” said the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran.

Nik Yousefi, an Iranian filmmaker and photographer who was himself arrested in October as part of the raid and then released, also wrote on Twitter that Ebrahimi had been arrested and his cafe in Tehran, Noj, was closed.

As Iranian authorities organized commemorations to mourn Soleimani on Wednesday, opponents shared images of people setting fire to his image on banners. Iran arrests a journalist for interviewing families of the convicts and a chef, likely over chicken chops

Rick Schindler

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