Iran has arrested eight people it accused of CIA links and sending abroad information on recent urban unrest, days after the United States said it had received thousands of messages on a protest crackdown in the Islamic republic.
Human Rights Watch has accused Tehran of “deliberately covering up” more than 140 deaths that it said came when security forces suppressed demonstrations against a sharp fuel price hike.
Iran said that among the more than 500 people arrested were eight who were “linked to the CIA”, state news agency IRNA said late Wednesday, citing the head of the intelligence ministry’s counter-espionage department.
Iran’s arch-foe the United States has said it received thousands of messages from the Islamic republic about the protests, including photos and videos, after issuing an appeal for people to defy sweeping internet restrictions.
The unrest came after a year and a half of biting sanctions re-imposed by US that aim to contain its regional influence.