TEHRAN — Members of Iran's outlawed Bahai faith have been arrested in connection with recent anti-government protests and some weapons were seized, IRNA news agency quoted the Tehran prosecutor as saying on Friday.
"They were arrested because they played a role in organising the Ashura protests and namely for having sent abroad pictures of the unrest," Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said.
The prosecutor did not say how many Bahais were arrested over the December 27 protests that coincided with the Shiite religious commemoration of Ashura.
Iranian websites said 10 Bahais were arrested in recent days.
"They were not arrested because they are Bahais," the prosecutor said. "Arms and ammunition were seized in the homes of some of them," he added.
IRNA also quoted the prosecutor as saying that "when their cases are wrapped up, their files will be sent to the revolutionary tribunal for a verdict."
Followers of the Bahai faith, founded in Iran in 1863, are regarded as infidels and suffered persecution both before and after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
The Bahais consider Bahaullah, born in 1817, to be the last prophet sent by God. This is in direct conflict with Islam, the religion of the vast majority of Iranians, which says Mohammed was the last prophet.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose disputed June re-election triggered a wave of opposition protest, has accused Iran's arch-foes the United States and Israel of staging the latest anti-government demonstrations.
On December 27, eight people were killed in clashes between security forces and opposition supporters who staged fresh protests during Ashura ceremonies.
Hundreds of people were arrested during the protests, at least 300 of whom are still being held in Tehran, police say.
On Thursday ISNA news agency, quoting the Tehran prosecutor, said Iran will put on trial five people arrested following the Ashura protests, but it did not identify them.
Dolatabadi told IRNA that the five were members of the People's Mujahedeen, Iran's main exiled opposition movement, and are accused of committing "offences" during the Ashura protests.
He described them as "moharebs," or enemies of God, who could face the death penalty in line with Islamic sharia law.
The prosecutor also announced that two foreigners detained by the authorities -- a Syrian journalist and "a German citizen" -- will soon be freed. He did not elaborate
There have been no official reports in Iran about the arrest of a German but the authorities said they detained Syrian journalist Reza al-Bacha, who works for Dubai TV, on December 27.
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