Iranian police said Tuesday they arrested 19 people after the flag of Afghanistan’s Taliban movement was waved at a gathering in a Tehran park.
The incident occurred Friday at Mellat Park, in the north of the capital, during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, Tehran’s police chief Hossein Rahimi told ISNA news agency.
“Unfortunately, some people started to wave the Taliban flag during this gathering,” he said, adding that Afghan nationals attend such events each year.
ISNA said pictures of the gathering were posted on social media and that some had claimed it involved “members of the terrorist Taliban group”.
It came during a three-day ceasefire in Afghanistan between the Taliban and Afghan security forces over the Muslim festival which ended on Sunday.
According to Rahimi, five of those arrested following investigations had “produced the flag, taken pictures and video and given them to hostile media”.
The rest were “mostly illegal nationals who are being deported”.
According to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, about 3.5 million Afghans, including almost one million refugees, live in the Islamic republic.
Tehran has long supported its co-religionists in neighbouring Afghanistan, the Shiite Hazara minority who were violently persecuted by the Taliban during its rule in the 1990s.
Iran worked alongside Western powers to help drive out the Taliban after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Iran said in December 2018 that a Taliban delegation had visited Tehran for a round of peace talks.