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Saudi airport incident incites social media outrage in Iran

Iranian social media users have erupted in anger over the two Iranian pilgrims allegedly assaulted in Saudi Arabia, prompting calls for calm from journalists.
Iranians scuffle with security forces during a demonstration outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran on April 11, 2015, to protest against alleged sexual harassment against Iranian youths by Saudi police. Media reported that two Iranian teenagers who had gone on pilgrimage to holy sites in Saudi Arabia had been sexually harassed by police at the Red Sea airport of Jeddah, as they prepared to return home. AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE        (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Iranian journalists have called for calm on social media after the case of two Iranian boys' alleged assault at the Jeddah airport while on pilgrimage became public. A week after Iran’s Foreign Ministry told the media about the case, the Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman confirmed yesterday that legal action is being taken against the two security officers accused. Before the Saudi statements, however, Iranians went online to protest the lack of attention toward the case by Saudi officials, in sometimes racist and xenophobic language.

Iran Newspaper, which is managed by the administration, has published articles on two consecutive days warning about the dangers of allowing emotions to get out of control on social media. Yesterday, April 14, Mohammad Nouri wrote an op-ed arguing that “the elite of society do not have permission to be silent” at a time when the values of coexistence are in danger. Nouri warned that “Iranian society, despite a proliferation of media activities, now faces a dangerous poison and series of norm-breaking events that if tolerated by the elite of the country, could inflict irreparable dangers and harm to the foundations of societal coexistence.”

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