Was Hossein Derakhshan really arrested in Tehran?

Was Hossein Derakhshan really arrested in Tehran?

Iranian-Canadian blogger HosseinHoderDerakhshan may or may not have been arrested recently in Tehran.

One Iranian site, Jahan News, is reporting that he has been — citing “reliable sources” — and up until now, that’s all we have.

And yet, UPI, the Jerusalem Post, Ha’aretz, The Guardian and others are all treating this as fact, using one possibly dubious Iranian newspaper as the sole source. It’s even made the Iranian equivalent of Digg, Balatarin (“Highest”). For the record, NPR is taking a more skeptical view, and reports: “A spokesman for the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, however, told NPR that he had no information about the incident.”

So, a little background: Hoder is largely credited as being one of the early pioneers for Persian-language blogging. He wrote a lot about blogging and tech for Iranian newspapers and helped spawn what’s become one of the largest blogging communities relative to its linguistic size.

However, over the last couple of years, he’s rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, to say the least. He’s taken some pretty strong political stances, and has apparently made attacks against many people who perhaps at one time considered him as a friend, or at least an icon.

Since I woke up this morning, I’ve been trading emails with various people in the US and Iran to try and sort this all out. Some believe that it’s real — he hasn’t posted on his English blog since October 6 2008, nor his Persian blog since October 19 2008. Others wonder about the legitimacy of the whole affair, thinking that it might be staged, given that he wrote on October 15 2008:

[Translation by Hamid Tehrani]:

If something happen to me I do not want any news, declaration . . . to be published in English, in international scene, in Persian media in USA, Netherlands . . . and so on . . .

Still, no one I’ve talked to has been able to find anything that isn’t sourced from Jahan News. One source simply isn’t enough to go on.


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