TEHRAN, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- An Iranian minister said Wednesday security forces had arrested eight people, one of them a journalist, tied to U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe's Persian arm.
Iranian Intelligence Minister Hojjatoleslam Heidar Moslehi told reporters in Tehran those arrested are linked to U.S.-backed Radio Farda, which is affiliated with Radio Free Europe. Radio Farda's director, Armand Mostofi, says it has no employees inside Iran, CNN reported.
"One of the eight detained individuals is a journalist," Moslehi said, adding that person had acknowledged his connection to the U.S.-funded network.
He said Iranian officials were "verifying their case."
Radio Farda is based in Prague, Czech Republic, and in Washington. Mostofi said he first heard of the arrests in Iranian news reports.
The semi-official Iran Labour News Agency accused the detainees of being "liaisons for anti-revolution satellite organizations and Zionist media," CNN reported.
ILNA said the arrests were part of what it called an "intelligence ministry operation." The agency said those arrested had gone through a selection and training process in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Istanbul, Turkey, and that some had been officially employed by the U.S. intelligence service, CNN reported.
"The crackdown of journalists in Iran has worsened in the aftermath of the presidential elections," Mostofi said. "Iran used to be the largest prison for journalists in the Mideast, and unfortunately, has become the largest prison in the world for journalists."