The Christian Science Monitor

In Iran, a hardline hunt for ‘infiltrators’ has political target, too

She once won Iran’s Book of the Year prize for a scholarly examination of fertility rates. But the Iranian-born academic was arrested last November, accused of “infiltration” and “espionage” – part of a widening crackdown inside Iran against alleged enemies of the Islamic Republic.

Dr. Meimanat Hosseini-Chavoshi, a research fellow at the Australian National University and citizen of both Iran and Australia, was released from prison in late January.

But her incarceration is just one of dozens that signify a new round of “securitization” in Iran, a clampdown marked by the heightened activity of the intelligence and security apparatus. Environmentalists, women’s rights activists, and lawyers have increasingly been targeted. Even a member of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team is now behind bars.

That result is the culmination of a transformation among hard-line elements in Iran, from a stated fear of a Western “cultural invasion,” above all, to apparent anxiety about an “infiltration project” by the United States, Israel, and other enemies, analysts say.

The clampdown began during the Obama years,

Amnesty sees ‘repression’Was environmentalist a spy?Targeting Rouhani

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