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Iran nabs 30 computer hackers

TEHRAN, March 15 (UPI) -- Iranian authorities arrested 30 people in connection with an alleged U.S.-backed effort to hack into Iranian computer networks and spread propaganda.

Iranian authorities during the weekend said they broke up a ring of 30 people connected with Internet crimes in the country, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reports.

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IRNA adds that the CIA set aside $400 million in 2006 to destabilize Iran. Tehran blamed London, Washington and Berlin for backing elements of the opposition movement that grew out of contested presidential elections in June.

Tehran said the network of computer hackers was accused of gaining access to Iranian Internet sites and played a role in arranging interviews for Iranian news sites such as Radio Farda and Radio Zamenah, which operate outside the country.

The Christian Science Monitor last week reported that Washington is supporting a measure that would limit Iran's access to software and equipment that could block Internet access.

In addition, Tehran blames the computer hacking ring for distributing propaganda related to captured militant leader Abdolmalek Rigi. Tehran took custody of Jundallah chief Rigi in February, though the details of his arrest remain murky.

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