Islamic Republic security forces arrest dissident rapper

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Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who was one of the supporters of the current wave of anti-government protests across Iran, has been arrested by security forces.

The Fars news agency, affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, reported on his arrest on Sunday, describing him as one of the “leaders of the riots who encouraged violence” on social media.

The IRGC-linked news site claimed the dissident rap artist was arrested as he attempted to cross the border and flee the country. Later in the day, his official Twitter account, managed by an overseas-based administrator, announced that he had been arrested in the western province of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, which is not a border province.

Photo released by state media of Toomaj Salehi after his arrest

His page also posted his conversation with the rapper, in which he explained to the administrator how to continue covering the events of the uprising in the event of an arrest. He had told the administrator to continue to publish articles about protests and strikes in support of the people, warning him not to support any political party or politician.

Earlier in the year, he was summoned by a revolutionary court in the central province of Isfahan. He did not specify his sentence in a tweet he posted on January 24 but wrote that his prison sentence is suspended for one year. He had already been arrested in September 2021 by dozens of security agents who searched his home. He was released on bail eight days later, pending trial.

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