Iranians revolt
Iranians revoltErfan Fard

Toomaj Salehi, an Iranian rapper who has vocally supported the current protest movement against the Iranian regime, was arrested earlier this week by regime security forces.

According to the regime-affiliated news outlet Fars, Salehi was was arrested as he was trying to cross the border and flee the country. Later in the day, his official Twitter account, run by a foreign-based administrator, announced that he was arrested in the province of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, which is not a border province.

The rapper regularly uses his music to call out the regime, in his latest song released last week says and promises protesters’ victory over the Islamic Republic. In light of this, this is not Toomaj's first brush with the authorities; In September 2021 Toomaj’s home in Esfahan was raided by twelve intelligence ministry agents and he was arrested. Thousands of Iranians on social media condemned his arrest and Amnesty International demanded his immediate release in a statement on September 17.

The London-based Iran International is reporting that his fans are vowing to continue his path and stay on the streets as he wanted. “We swear on the blood on Toomaj’s blindfold that we will take revenge for all the blood that you have shed,” a fan wrote on Twitter on Monday referring to a blood stain on the blindfold put over the rapper's eyes in a photo released by the state media.

Toomaj Salehi, blindfolded in photo released by Iranian state media
Toomaj Salehi, blindfolded in photo released by Iranian state mediaצילום: None

Toomaj’s cousin Azadeh Babadi told Iran International Monday that the family has found out he is being severely tortured to denounce the youth movement against the clerical rule.

“He knew he would be arrested but he refused to leave the country,” said Babadi, adding that she had warned him about his safety in Iran and offered to help him get a visa to join her in London. The family wants all Iranians to know that Toomaj believes they can only succeed in restoring the rights denied to them by remaining on the streets and continuing the protests to bring the regime down," she said.