Source: Center for Human Rights in Iran
An unknown number of university academics, including a dual national, who allegedly researched state population policies have been arrested in Iran, according to state media outlets.
The main reports about the arrests, which do not include the detainees' names, were published by the Fars News Agency and Mashregh-both of which maintain close ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The IRGC, a powerful, ultra-conservative military force functioning alongside Iran's traditional military, is currently the main state body carrying out politically motivated arrests in Iran.
In a short news item published on November 27, 2018, the IRGC-affiliated Fars News Agency reported: "It has been heard that one of the country's security agencies, with the cooperation of the judicial system, has arrested and summoned a number of infiltrators in the field of population control."
"According to information obtained by the Fars reporter, these individuals had infiltrated government agencies such as the ministries of science and health as well as the legislature's research center, the Plan and Budget Organization, the Statistical Center of Iran, and the Presidential Strategic Planning Office," continued the report.
Fars did not indicate how many people were arrested or any other information about the detainees' identities. It referred to the dual national individual as "M.B."
However, on the same day, Mashregh, another IRGC-affiliated news agency, referred to the dual national as "Dr. M.H." who was reportedly arrested along with another individual, "M.M."
"The agents are accused of acting against national security and cooperating with institutions that want to overthrow the state with the intention to deliberately deviate and disrupt decisions made by policy-makers, manufacture statistics and send information abroad," Mashregh alleged.
The following day, Mashregh published a report expressing concern about Iran's aging population "in spite of the supreme leader's wishes," who has repeatedly insisted that Iran's population must keep growing, blaming the alleged downwards trend on a "smart war" hatched by foreign intelligence agencies.
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