Iran Detains Three Over Billboard With Israeli Soldiers

Authorities in Iran have detained three people accused of using a photo of Israeli soldiers on a billboard, Iran’s semiofficial ISNA news agency reported on September 28.

The banner in southern Iran to commemorate the Iran-Iraq war pictured the backs of three male Israeli soldiers standing on top of a hillside. A female soldier in the original photo was edited out.

The image went viral on Iranian social media with some noting that the soldiers were Israeli because they are carrying M-16 rifles, which the Iranian military does not use.

ISNA quoted Ali Salehi, the judiciary chief of Shiraz, as saying prosecutors are in the preliminary stage of the investigation.

The banner was pulled down in Shiraz on September 26 and the mayor issued an apology the next day.

"This mistake of putting up such a despicable banner during the sacred defense week is unforgivable," the semiofficial Tasnim quoted Mayor Heydar Eskandarpour as saying.

Iran does not recognize Israel and supports militant groups such as Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hizballah in Lebanon.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP