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Iran arrests over 260 in raid on 'satanist network'

Three European citizens were among those arrested during the police operation in Shahryar city, west of Tehran
A handout picture provided by the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei office shows him leading the Eid al-Fitr prayer ceremony in Tehran on April 10.

A handout picture provided by the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei office shows him leading the Eid al-Fitr prayer ceremony in Tehran on April 10. (Photo: AFP / HO / KHAMENEI.IR)

Published: May 18, 2024 04:54 AM GMT
Updated: May 18, 2024 05:15 AM GMT

Iranian police announced on May 17 that they have arrested more than 260 people including three foreigners promoting "satanism" west of the capital Tehran, state media reported.

"The Police Information Center announced the identification, dismantling, and widespread arrest of members of the satanist network," IRNA state news agency reported, citing a police statement.

Police arrested "146 men and 115 women" who "were in an undesirable and obscene condition with emblems, signs, and symbols of satanism on their clothes, head, face, and hair," the statement said.

"Three European citizens" were also arrested during the police operation in Shahryar city, west of Tehran on May 16 night.

"Symbols of satanism, alcoholic beverages and psychoactive substances along with 73 vehicles were seized" during the raid, police added in the statement.

Raids on so-called "satanist" gatherings are not uncommon in the deeply conservative country, often targeting parties or concerts with alcohol consumption, which is largely banned in Iran.

In July 2009, police arrested three people in the northwestern province of Ardebil over "satan worship."

In May of the same year, media in the Islamic republic said 104 "Satan-worshippers" were arrested in a raid on a concert in the southern city of Shiraz where people were purportedly drinking alcohol and "sucking blood."

In 2007, police arrested 230 people in a raid on an illegal rock concert in a garden near Tehran.

Authorities in the Shiite Muslim-dominated country have in the past branded rock and heavy metal music concerts as satanist gatherings.

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