Iran arrests hundreds, including three Europeans, at 'Satanist' meeting

Report says police found them surrounded by logos, signs and symbols, with some of them naked

An Iranian woman walks past a painting of the national flag of Iran in Tehran, Iran, 02 May 2024. EPA
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Iranian security forces have arrested more than 260 people, including three Europeans, at what the semi-official news agency Tasnim described as a “Satanist" gathering near Tehran.

“Members of the satanist network were identified and arrested by the police in a specialised operation,” the Iranian news outlet said on Friday.

The 146 men and 115 women “were present in the venue of the Satanism meeting”, surrounded by “logos, signs, and symbols of Satanism on their clothes, head, face, and hair”, it added.

Some were “naked”, according to the outlet.

Iran witnessed nationwide protests in 2022 and 2023 over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s morality police.

More than 500 people were killed and 18,000 imprisoned in a subsequent clampdown on demonstrators, according to rights groups, with Tehran going on to execute several protesters accused of killing security officers.

Iran handed down the death sentence to several protesters during trials criticised by rights groups and international officials as "sham" proceedings.

Many women were imprisoned for not wearing the hijab and supporting the protests, which marked the most significant act of domestic defiance against the regime.

The Iranian judiciary has a long history of convicting dual citizens and dissidents on vague charges and little evidence.

Iranian police claims of "Satanism" on Friday were not corroborated by other sources.

Updated: May 17, 2024, 4:49 PM