Iran General NewsIran expels Spanish journalist - newspaper

Iran expels Spanish journalist – newspaper

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Reuters: Iran has cancelled the accreditation of the correspondent of the Spanish daily El Pais and ordered her to leave the country within two weeks, her newspaper said on Monday.

MADRID Oct 11 (Reuters) – Iran has cancelled the accreditation of the correspondent of the Spanish daily El Pais and ordered her to leave the country within two weeks, her newspaper said on Monday.

Angeles Espinosa is one of a dwindling group of resident foreign correspondents in Tehran who have faced growing restrictions on their activities and freedom of movement since a disputed presidential election sparked protests last year.

El Pais said Espinosa had been given no official explanation but the decision appeared to be linked to an interview she had conducted with the son of the late dissident Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri in July.

She was detained in the holy city of Qom after interviewing Ahmad Montazeri and stripped of her press card.

Foreign correspondents require official permission to travel outside Tehran and are barred from leaving their offices to report on demonstrations and other unofficial political events.

In another incident highlighting Iran’s sensitivity to news coverage, an Iranian judiciary official said on Monday that two foreign nationals had been arrested after interviewing the son of a woman whose sentence to death by stoning for adultery was recently suspended under international pressure.

“Two foreigners posing as journalists have been arrested in Iran,” Iranian prosecutor general Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

El Pais said Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos had appealed to the Iranian authorities to allow Espinosa to stay in Iran, where she has worked for the last five years.

The Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists condemned the decision by Iran to expel her.

“This is another attempt by the Iranian regime to silence independent reporting of events in the country,” said Aidan White, secretary general of the IFJ.

“Espinosa is being expelled purely because she is a witness to the impact of the regime’s policies. Like others who have been thrown out, she is a victim of secrecy and intolerance on the part of leaders who are afraid to subject themselves to democratic scrutiny.”

El Pais has also campaigned for the release of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the woman whose stoning sentence provoked an international outcry.

(Reporting by Paul Taylor, editing by Mark Heinrich)

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