Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Iran revokes ‘New York Times’ reporter’s accreditation

AP, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

Iran has revoked the press accreditation of the New York Times correspondent based in Tehran without explanation, the newspaper reported yesterday.

While the newspaper said it remained hopeful Thomas Erdbrink soon would be allowed to work again, the revocation comes amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran stemming from US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers a year ago.

Tehran revoked Erdbrink’s government-required authorization to work as a journalist four months ago, the Times said.

He has been unable to work since February and the Times said that it decided to go public with his situation “after recent speculation and comments on social media.”

“Officials of Iran’s Foreign Ministry have repeatedly assured The Times that Mr Erdbrink’s credential would soon be restored, but have offered no explanation for the delays or for why it was revoked,” the Times reported, quoting international editor Michael Slackman. “There are some indications this will be resolved soon.”

Iran’s mission to the UN did not immediately respond to a request for comment. There was no immediate response in Iranian state-run media.

Erdbrink, a Dutch national, previously worked as a correspondent for the Washington Post as well. He is married to Iranian photographer Newsha Tavakolian, who is represented by the Magnum photo agency.

Both he and Tavakolian were the focus of Our Man in Tehran, a documentary released last year about his work and life as a Western journalist in Iran.

Journalists in Iran face harassment from security services, while others have been imprisoned for their work. While local journalists face the brunt of that, foreign journalists in Tehran, especially those with Western ties, have been imprisoned as well.

The last major case involved Iranian-American reporter Jason Rezaian of the Washington Post, who was convicted in an internationally criticized, closed-door espionage trial in 2015.

A 2016 prisoner swap negotiated between Iran and the US amid the start of the nuclear deal freed Rezaian and three other Iranian-Americans in exchange for pardons or charges being dropped against seven Iranians.

That deal also saw the US make a US$400 million cash delivery to Iran.

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