Security forces in the northwestern Iranian city of Zanjan arrested this week Farhad Hosseini, an ethnic Turk student and civil rights activist who is pursuing a master's degree in management at the city’s Azad University.
Agents from the Zanjan Intelligence Department apprehended Hosseini at his father’s house on September 19 without showing an arrest warrant, one of his relatives who wished to remain anonymous told IranWire.
When the father tried to confront the intruders, he was warned that resisting or publicizing the arrest would create problems for both his son and his family.
Since then, the family has not had any contact with the activist and is still unaware of the accusations he is facing.
He is expected to remain in the custody of Intelligence agents in Zanjan until the completion of the preliminary investigation.
Hosseini’s relative told IranWire that he has been actively engaged in civic activities for nearly a decade.
He is also an accomplished cyclist, mountaineer and Turkish language instructor who has contributed articles on social issues and ethnic rights to Bayram magazine.
He has received numerous threats through phone calls and summonses, the source said, adding that the pressure has intensified over the past year following the eruption of the "Woman, Life, Freedom" nationwide protests.
According to human rights activist Fakhteh Zamani, Hosseini is an ethnic activist engaged in “advocating for the right to teach the Turkish language."
"Since the start of the 'Woman, Life, Freedom' movement, which has engulfed the entire country, the Islamic Republic has been concerned about its crumbling legitimacy among the people. It now appears determined to assert as much control as possible" over the population, Zamani added.
A significant number of ethnic Azeris have been detained in multiple Iranian cities over the course of the past week, but Zamani said that the ongoing clampdown on civil society will not deter activists from calling for changes in the country.
On September 9, agents of the Intelligence Department also arrested Mortaza Noormohammadi, a civil rights advocate from East Azerbaijan province.
And on September 13, six other activists – Dawood Shiri, Ali Babaei, Amirhossein Aghaei, Mohammad Reza Movahed, Azaar Ebrahimzadeh and Javad Sudbar – were detained by the Intelligence Department in Tabriz, the provincial capital.