Iran General NewsRadio reporter from the U.S. is held by Iran

Radio reporter from the U.S. is held by Iran

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ImageNew York Times: Iran has arrested an Iranian-American reporter who worked for National Public Radio and other news organizations out of Iran, her father told N.P.R. on Sunday.

The New York Times

By NAZILA FATHI
Published: March 2, 2009

ImageTEHRAN — Iran has arrested an Iranian-American reporter who worked for National Public Radio and other news organizations out of Iran, her father told N.P.R. on Sunday.

The father, Reza Saberi, said that his daughter, Roxana Saberi, 31, who has worked as a freelancer in Iran for six years, was arrested Jan. 31 by the authorities after buying a bottle of wine. He said she called Feb. 10 and told him that she was in custody but that she could be released soon.

“She called from an unknown place and said she’s been kept in detention,” Mr. Saberi said from Fargo, N.D., where her family lives.

“She said that she had bought a bottle of wine and the person that sold it had reported it and then they came and arrested her,” he said, adding that the wine purchase was just an excuse to arrest her. Alcoholic drinks are banned in Iran.

The daily newspaper Etemaad reported Saturday that an Iranian-American reporter had been under arrest for a month but did not provide a name. Iranian authorities have not confirmed Ms. Saberi’s arrest, and the section of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for the foreign news media, which gives press credentials to reporters, was unaware of her arrest until Sunday.

Her arrest comes at a time of increasing pressure before presidential elections in June, during which at least two pro-reform candidates will be running against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Government forces cracked down on hundreds of protesting students at Amirkabir University last week and arrested nearly 70, newspapers reported. The students protested the burial of “unknown martyrs” from the Iran-Iraq war on the campus. About 40 detainees were released, but the rest were transferred to the country’s notorious Evin prison.

The authorities also destroyed the place of worship of members of a Sufi group called the Gonabadi Dervishes on Feb. 19 in the central city of Isfahan.

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