Iran has arrested seven people linked to a Farsi-language radio station funded in part by the United States, accusing them of fomenting unrest.
According to the Associated Press, the Official Iranian News Agency and state radio both cited a statement by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry which claimed the seven individuals were trained outside of Iran in sabotage, spreading rumors and overthrowing a government by soft means.
The suspects were not identified and it is unclear exactly when they were arrested.
Iran may be merely trying to discredit the opposition, as opposition protests are expected to swell throughout the streets again on Feb. 11 as Iran marks the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
Anti-government demonstrations in Tehran on Dec. 27 turned bloody. At least eight people were killed that day and security forces arrested hundreds more during the most violent clashes since Iran’s disputed presidential election last June.
Western powers have been accused of fueling the rage directed at the country’s clerical regime, purportedly to bring about regime change without military action.
The US-sponsored Radio Farda, or “Radio Tomorrow” is the Farsi-language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, based in Prague, Czech Republic and Washington, DC.
Created in 1994, the Broadcast Board of Governors oversees all of the US government’s non-military international broadcasting outlets, including Radio Free Europe, Alhurra TV, Radio Sawa, Radio Free Asia, TV Marti and Voice of America.
The BBG’s mission is to “promote and sustain freedom and democracy by broadcasting accurate and objective news and information about the US and the world to overseas audiences.”
The last time the organization was in the news, Dana Perino, the first Republican woman to serve as White House press secretary, was appointed to the BBG by President Barack Obama in Nov. 2009.