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Iranian activists arrested in disaster areas

Source: Radio Zamaneh

Reports from Iran indicate that scores of volunteers at the camps for earthquake victims in Eastern Azerbaijan Province have been arrested by Islamic Republic security forces during disputes over the distribution of aid.

Related Photo: A group of volunteers participating in quake relief efforts (see high resolution)

Saham News, a website linked to opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, reports that at least 40 people were arrested by security and military forces when an attempt to take over the warehouses holding volunteer aid collections was repelled.

Reports indicate that the authorities have stressed that all aid has to be surrendered to IRGC forces, which are responsible for the distribution of relief in the disaster areas.

The Kaleme opposition website, linked to opposition leader MirHosein Mousavi, also reported an eyewitness account that the arrests were carried out by "50 to 60 officials with 10 vans."

The report added that "two groups of social workers and child psychologists" that had arrived in the region to offer their services were forced by authorities to leave the area.

Eastern Azerbaijan was hit by two deadly earthquakes on Saturday August 11, which left more than 300 people dead and thousands more injured. Thousands of people are now living in tents in the disaster areas.

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