A friend of popular Iranian blockchain educator Ziya Sadr says he was arrested on the streets on September 19, 2022, and not released since. The arrest came amid crackdowns on protests against Iran’s “morality police,” which enforces strict adherence to Islamic principles and ultra-conservative dress codes for women.
Ziya Sadr promoted blockchain and digital assets with a YouTube channel that has 6,140 subscribers and a podcast with 5,047 subscribers. He also translated Bitcoin-related content into Farsi and spread information about privacy tools for digital asset transactions. He had a Twitter account, but that was deactivated by an unnamed party that Sadr apparently knew.
Sadr should have been released on bail on October 9, but authorities delayed bail requests due to the protests.
The protests began when a 22-year-old activist named Mahsa Amini was arrested and killed by the morality police. Women removed their hijab, risking arrest, abuses, and death at the hands of the Iranian government. A “hacktivist” group connected to the protests briefly hacked a state-backed TV station to spread its message.
Iran claimed that 41 people died in the protests. However, that number is more likely to be over a hundred more than 1,200 people have been arrested. The Iranian government claims that some people were killed in accidents or by construction workers, though witnesses and family members of the victims dispute the official accounts of their deaths.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi blamed foreign powers for inciting the protests. However, he did not present proof that foreign powers are stirring up unrest.
“The enemy thought that it can pursue its desires in universities while unaware that our students and teachers are aware and they will not allow the enemies’ vain plans to be realized,” he told an audience at the all-female Al-Zahra University in Tehran.
(Obviously, the private bitcoin transactions that Sadr touted could help raise funds for any serious opposition to Iran’s government. However, anything promising to raise funds for Iranian resistance is likely to be fake.)
Thousands of protestors have shown up to protests across Iran to chant slogans and twirl the hijabs that the “morality police” requires women to wear. Blockchain educator Ziya Sadr may become one of the victims of Iran’s morality police in the sustained unrest in the wake of Mahsa Amini’s death.