Arrest of Telegram channel operator surprises Iranians

Al-Monitor – The arrest of an operator of a popular Telegram channel on Oct. 14 shocked many Iranian dissidents abroad. Rohollah Zam, the administrator of Amad News, was residing in France as a political refugee when the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Intelligence Organization announced his arrest and shortly thereafter aired a video confession.

Many dissidents and observers abroad wondered how someone could be apprehended by the IRGC in the relative safety of Europe. According to BBC Persian, Zam was arrested in Iraq and handed over to Iranian authorities. Zam reportedly flew to Iraq on Oct. 12, according to BBC Persian. One day after his arrival his wife, Mahsa Razani, lost contact with him. It is not yet clear what Zam was doing in Iraq or why he thought he would be safe in a country that has an extradition agreement with Iran.

The IRGC statement read that Zam’s arrest showed Iran’s “upper hand and initiative against the intelligence services of the enemy.” The statement referred to Zam as “one of the branches of the enemy’s media” and claimed that he was “guided by French intelligence services and was supported and backed by US and Israeli intelligence services.” The IRGC shared almost no details of how Zam was apprehended, simply referring to a “professional, multifaceted operation using new intelligence methods.”

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