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Iran Arrests Several Journalists on Charges of Fueling Ethnic Division

Iran says it has arrested several Iranian journalists, charging that their work was aimed at fueling ethnic divisions within the country.

Iran's intelligence ministry announced the arrests but has not named the journalists who were detained.

A ministry statement says the journalists admitted they were receiving significant sums of U.S. dollars from abroad to publish articles aimed at partitioning Iran.

The ministry did not say where the money was coming from.

Iran's largest ethnic minorities include Kurds, Arabs, Azeris and Baluchis.

Human rights groups have criticized Iran for suppressing the rights of its ethnic minorities.

Last week, Iranian state media said Revolutionary Guard forces killed 17 rebels during a battle in the northwestern province of West Azerbaijan.

In February, rebels in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan bombed a bus carrying members of the Revolutionary Guard, killing eleven.

Iranian state media said a Sunni Muslim group named Jundollah claimed responsibility for that bombing. Iran is mostly Shi'ite.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.