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Iran 'Breaks World Record' For Intelligence- and Security-Related Work

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

Seyed Solat Mortazavi

Iran has been able to increase its authority in recent months sufficiently to "break the world record for intelligence- and security-related work," says a deputy interior minister for political affairs, Seyed Solat Mortazavi.

Mortazavi told the hard-line Fars news agency that the Islamic Republic's intelligence services in recent months have managed to arrest people with links to Israeli and U.S. intelligence services -- marking a "turning point" for Iran. Mortazavi appears to be referring to the arrests of more than 2,000 key reformist figures, journalists, and bloggers and rights activists in the postelection crackdown. 

Here is the reaction of a Tehran-based rights activist who was among those arrested in recent months: "Obviously, in order to control millions of citizens opposed or dissatisfied with the government, the staff of Iran's intelligence apparatus have to work three shifts and break a world record."

Mohsen Mirdamadi, the head of the Mosharekat party who was also jailed in the crackdown and temporarily released on bail in March, was quoted as saying on May 24 -- before returning to Evin prison -- that "everywhere is a prison, and the difference between us political prisoners with others is that we're moving from a bigger prison to a smaller one."

Photos: Iranian Reformist Figure Mohsen Mirdamadi Heads Back To Evin Prison

He said that he was unaware of events happening outside the prison walls while at Evin, but now realizes that life outside Evin is not so very different from life in jail. 

People, Mirdamadi said, are "everywhere watched and monitored -- a tight security atmosphere reigns." 

Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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