Britain’s “destructive participation” in the most recent protests in the Islamic Republic, according to Iran’s foreign ministry, was reflected in the detention of British nationals.
One of the most persistent challenges to the country’s ruling theocracy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has accused Western nations, Israel, and Saudi Arabia of inciting the discontent by people from all walks of life in the country.
Asked by a reporter to comment on Sunday’s announcement in Tehran of the arrest of seven people linked to Britain, foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said: “Some countries, especially the one you mentioned, had an unconstructive role regarding the recent developments in Iran.
“Their role was totally destructive and incited the riots.”
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Sunday that the seven, including some who held dual nationality, were arrested over anti-government protests that have rocked the country for over three months.
The claims that dual citizens of the United Kingdom and Iran had been detained prompted the British foreign ministry to request additional information from Iranian officials.
Numerous dual nationals have been detained in response to Tehran’s claims that foreigners were involved in the demonstrations. This is all part of the official narrative intended to deflect blame away from the Iranian government.
As Iranians struggled with an official inflation rate of about 50% and purchased dollars, other hard currencies, or gold in an effort to preserve their funds from the turbulence in their country, the unstable currency of Iran continued to plunge to historic lows.
On the unofficial foreign exchange market, the U.S. dollar sold for an all-time high of 415,400 rials on Monday, up from 410,000 on Sunday, according to forex site Bonbast.com.
The rial has lost about 24% of its value since the nationwide protests erupted in September.
While rights groups say about 18,500 people have been arrested during the unrest, government officials say most have been released. The judiciary’s head in Tehran said on Monday that 83 percent of those detained in the capital had been freed, the official news agency IRNA reported.
Besides arrests, authorities have imposed travel bans on dozens of artists, lawyers, journalists and celebrities for endorsing the protests.
Iranian authorities ordered a flight bound for Dubai to land on Iran’s Kish Island in the Gulf to prevent the wife and daughter of Iranian former national soccer team captain Ali Daei, another supporter of the protests, from leaving the country, local media said. The judiciary later said Daei’s wife had been banned from travel.
“I really don’t know the reason for this. Did they want to arrest a terrorist?” Daei told semi-official news agency ISNA.
Earlier this month authorities shut down a jewelry shop and a restaurant owned by Daei after he support for the protests on social media.
Rights group HRANA said that as of Dec. 25, 507 protesters had been killed, including 69 minors. It said 66 members of the security forces had also been killed. As many as 18,516 protesters were believed to have been arrested.