Iran Cracks Down on Dissent
Farnaz Fassihi / Wall Street Journal

BEIRUT—Iran has raised pressure on activists and opposition members in the past two months in an apparent move to preempt antigovernment protests, as regional uprisings gained momentum in Syria and Libya, according to activists and human-rights organizations.

The scope of the government's crackdown has broadened to include not only political activists but such groups as environmentalists and participants in social gatherings, activists say. In July and August, security forces raided environmental demonstrations, Ramadan dinner feasts, youth playing in parks and activists' private homes.

The government has arrested dozens of people, from Tehran to Tabriz in the northwest, accusing them of conspiring to overthrow the Islamic Republic's regime and of spreading information online and on social networking websites such as Facebook, human-rights groups and opposition members say.

Analysts say that Iran is tightening its grip on power mostly because of events in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally of Iran, is facing domestic and international pressure to step down.

The development in Iran underscores the mutual inspiration and reinforcement between activists in uprisings across the Arab world. Syrian youth activists, for example, say they are constantly in communication with their Iranian counterparts from the opposition Green Movement to exchange ideas and tactics.

"What is happening in the streets of Syria will surely make ... >>>

recommended by Shifteh Ansari