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Iran arrests at least dozen journalists

At least a dozen journalists have been arrested in Iran, and are accused of ties to foreign media.

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) meets with Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi (unseen) in Tehran on January 15, 2013. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran has arrested at least a dozen journalists, accusing them of cooperating with foreign Persian language media organizations.

Several editors of Iranian outlets said on Monday that the arrests marked a press crackdown, according to Al Jazeera. The chief editors of the journalists who were arrested told the Associated Press that 14 were taken into custody on Sunday and Monday for having "foreign contacts."

Reuters, citing Iranian media, said more than a dozen journalists had been arrested for their links to "anti-revolutionary" media.

According to Mehr news ageny, the journalists who were arrested worked for reformist newspapers such as Arman, Bahar, Etemaad, Shargh, the Aseman weekly and Iran's ILNA labor news agency.

The arrests come five months before the Iranian elections.

The Los Angeles Times noted that Iranian public prosecutor Gholam Hossain Moseni Ejeie said last week, "We know that some of the local journalists have connections with foreigners. If they are arrested, they should not complain."

According to The LA Times, local media reports suggested that the arrested journalists worked with foreign media such as BBC Persian or Voice of America Persian, which are viewed as hostile to Iran's government.

The New York Times noted that none of the affected organizations reported the news of the arrests themselves, probably fearing further antagonizing the Revolutionary Guards loyal to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/130128/iran-arrests-at-least-dozen-journalists