The head of the Cyber Police in Khuzestan said that 24 internet activists were identified and detained for reporting on the ongoing floods in the southwestern province.
The report published by the state-run ISNA news agency said that the detainees had “disturbed public opinion by spreading news and rumors on the floods”.
“Due to the publication of rumors and fake news on the internet which has led to insecurity in the community’s psychological climate, experts of the police forces monitored social platforms and identified 24 internet users who published deviating news and rumors about the flood and disturbed public opinion,” Colonel Shahin Hassanvand said adding that they were handed over to the Judiciary.
Last week, Tehran’s Chief of Police announced that four people had been arrested in the capital for “spreading rumors” about the incompetence of officials in flood relief efforts.
The regime views local news which show the scope of devastation and the government’s incompetence in dealing with the floods as a threat to its security.
In late March, Iran’s Attorney General said that publishing “fake” news on the floods was a security violation adding that those who published such news would dealt with as “disrupting the security of the country”.
According to human rights groups, 11 relief workers were also arrested in Khuzestan in the past few days by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Local reports and videos on social media indicate that the regime has dispatched various units to quell protests in Khuzestan, after street protests broke out yesterday in the Eyn-e Do and Shelang Abad regions in Ahvaz.
Videos on social media showed troops from Iraq’s IRGC backed Popular Mobilization Forces in Khuzestan while the Fatemiyoun Division, made up of Afghan nationals, were sent to Poldokhtar in western Iran. The Fatemiyoun has been designated as a terrorist organization by the US Treasury. Locals believe that these forces have been sent to quell protests.
Other videos showed tanks parading on the streets in Khuzestan.
Flood victims are furious and believe that the regime only cares about its security and not flood relief.