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Reformist Editor Arrested by Security Agents Amid Pre-Election Crackdown

Iranhumanrights.org - Amid a widening crackdown on journalists and activists in Iran ahead of the country's May 2017 presidential election, security agents arrested Morad Saghafi, the reformist editor-in-chief of Goftegoo (Conversation) magazine, on March 15, 2017.

His lawyer, Hamed Zargar, said on March 16 that Saghafi had a phone conversation with a family member the day after he was arrested, and has little chance of being released on bail before the start of the Iranian New Year on March 21.

Saghafi owns the Shirazeh (Essence) publishing house and is the executive director of Yek Shahr (One City), a non-governmental organization that aims to "elevate the people's ability to enjoy their rights as citizens and improve their lives."

"Improvements in Tehran's situation is possible by stopping widespread corruption inside the municipality...The city needs members who are champions in the fight against corruption," he said during a March 9 seminar in Tehran on municipality affairs.

"Power is in the hands of just one man and that's the mayor (of Tehran, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf), who's out of control," he added. "He can ignore national interests, as he still does today."

The conservative mayor lost to centrist President Hassan Rouhani in the country's 2013 presidential election and may run against him this year.

Reformist journalists Tahereh Riahi, Zeinab Karimian, Ehsan Mazandarani, and Hengameh Shahidi, and film director Salem Deldam are among those who have been detained by security agents in recent months.