The state security forces have arrested four people in the capital for “spreading rumours” about the incompetence of officials in flood relief efforts, Tehran Police Chief announced Sunday.
The SSF commander Hossein Rahimi who was cited by the state-run ISNA state-run News Agency admitted that government officials and commanders of armed forces presumably involved in relief efforts have been assailed by people.
“All officials, including government officials and the armed forces, made great efforts during the floods, but unfortunately some people have destroyed their image,” the capital’s police chief said.
“Some people also spread lies and rumours about the floods and with coordination with the Cyber Police, four of these people were identified and detained in Tehran,” Rahimi went on to add.
This comes after floods ravaged the north, south and west of Iran with angry Iranians complaining of no state aid.
People affected by the county’s worst floods in a decade have been staging angry demonstrations against inadequate relief response by the government while state TV claims help is being provided to the survivors.
Videos posted on social media seem to show that most of the relief efforts are being carried out by locals themselves.
Iran’s Attorney General had recently said that publishing “fake” news on the floods was a security violation adding that those who published such news would dealt with as “disrupting the security of the country”.
Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said that the Attorney General, Ministry of Interior and the Police were coordinated on the matter.
“In the first stage, the sources of the publication of false news should be identified and when identified, they will deal with,” the cleric added.
According to ISNA, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli had complained about reports on social media showing government incompetence in dealing with the flood in the northern province of Golestan.
“I told judicial authorities and the prosecutor to deal with those who are behind publishing fake news and those who are looking to exaggerate the problems in flood stricken areas,” he added.
These threats were echoed by Iran’s “cyber police”.
Colonel Ramin Pashaie, the Social Deputy of Iran’s FATA (Cyber Police) said that the “police would deal with those who spread rumours about the recent floods on social media”.
He said that these rumors would “lead to the disturbance of public opinion and peace of the society.”
Iran’s Chief of Police had recently warned that “security” in flood stricken areas was its “priority” and vowed to deal with unrest.