Iran police arrest 30 in raid on ‘satanist’ gathering

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Iranian authorities have arrested 30 people suspected of belonging to a “satanist network” at an event with “alcoholic drinks,” local media reported Thursday in the latest such raid in recent weeks.

A total of “18 men and 12 women” were arrested at a gathering in the northern province of Mazandaran, Fars news agency reported, without specifying when the raid took place.

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Police forces seized “alcoholic drinks and drugs” and found “signs and symbols of satanism” at the site of the gathering, Fars quoted provincial police chief Davood Safarizadeh as saying.

He added that attendees had travelled from other provinces.

Raids on so-called “satanist” gatherings are not uncommon in the deeply conservative country, often targeting parties or concerts with alcohol consumption, which is largely banned in the Islamic Republic.

On Saturday, police took 35 people into custody in a similar raid in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, and in May, more than 250 people including three Europeans were arrested west of the capital Tehran for promoting “satanism.”

Authorities in the Shia Muslim-dominated country have in the past branded rock and heavy metal music concerts as “satanist” gatherings.

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