DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – A semi-official news agency in Iran is reporting that authorities have detained five local journalists recently amid an ongoing crackdown on expression in the Islamic Republic.
The report Tuesday by the Fars news agency identified two of the journalists as reformists Isa Saharkhiz and Ehsun Mazandarani. It did not name the others.
Saharkhiz, who was released in 2013 after serving years in prison following Iran's 2009 postelection turmoil, has openly criticized the government in interviews with foreign media. Mazandarani, once detained in 2012, was working as the editor-in-chief of the moderate daily newspaper Farhikhtegan.
The detentions follow the arrest of others, including two poets and a filmmaker. It also comes ahead of crucial February parliamentary elections and as hard-liners push against a nuclear deal with world powers.