The Islamic Republic has framed several Iranian athletes saying they were planning a terrorist bombing in a case full of contradictory remarks by the officials. 

Security organs have arrested at least five athletes – all hailing from the city of Shiraz – on charges of being involved in a "bombing" plot, which the agents of the Islamic Republic claim to have foiled.

The five were arrested in a period of about one month from late October to November 2022 in different cities. Iran International’s Maryam Moqaddam says at least 10 people were implicated in the case but only the names of five of them were released to the media. Snowboard instructors Dena Sheibani and Arsalan Mahdavi, climbing instructor Hesam Mousavi, former national team mountain biker Eshragh (Eshraq) Najafabadi, and mountaineer Mohammad Khiveh are the five detained on charges of planning the bombing. 

As is the new normal for the detentions in Iran, the authorities also extracted confessions from them under duress. There are some unconfirmed reports that Sheibani and Khiveh were released on bail.

Their case had been full of conflicting statements since the beginning. Even the place of the alleged bombing is not yet known. On October 28, the authorities announced that they arrested someone carrying “a bag of explosives with strong destruction power” who wanted to plant a bomb in Shiraz’s Ma'aliabad neighborhood. 

A deputy for political and security issues of Fars province’s governor earlier rejected reports of “the bombing” saying that no bomb was planted and explosives such as TNT were not involved. Someone with a package that contained “flammable liquids and some accessories" was arrested in the neighborhood, he claimed. 

In a video of forced confessions, the climbing instructor Mousavi said that the bombing was planned to take place outside the governor’s office, which is more than a two-hour walk to the Ma'aliabad neighborhood. In the videos, Dena Shibani, the only woman accused in this case, was introduced as the "publicity officer responsible for advertising and testing operations" without providing further details about her role. 

However, on December 1, some state media reported a different story of the alleged "bombing" saying that a “suspicious package” was “neutralized” by the bomb squad. In videos published by the state media, some officers seem to be removing small plastic bags of something supposed to be explosives from a small bucket. 

The real reason for arresting so many sports people is not even clear, but the indications of extracting forces confessions and contradictory statements by officials clearly show an attempt to frame the detainees.

The arrests occurred only a few days after Iran’s intelligence ministry had announced the arrest of 26 people including foreigners on charges related to an attack on a Shia shrine October 26 that killed 15 people. The ministry said in a statement that these people were detained in different provinces as well as “at the eastern borders while fleeing the country.”

The ministry identified the assailant in Shahcheragh shrine as a Tajik citizen named Sobhan Komrooni with the nickname “Abu Aisha” and an Afghan person named Mohammed Ramez Rashidi as the “supporting element” of the operation. ISIS took responsibility for the attack on the Shahcheragh in Shiraz on October 26, but some questioned the Islamic Republic’s account saying it was staged by the regime itself to distract attention from nationwide protests.

Chand Chand
IITV News (12) - DC
24 with Fardad

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