Iran General NewsGerman journalists held in Iran 'are not spies'

German journalists held in Iran ‘are not spies’


AFP: Two German journalists arrested in Iran in October are not facing charges of spying, a senior aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted in a German newspaper Sunday as saying.

BERLIN (AFP) — Two German journalists arrested in Iran in October are not facing charges of spying, a senior aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted in a German newspaper Sunday as saying.

“We never said (that they would be charged with spying). There is no evidence to suggest that they worked as spies,” Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS) in an interview.

But he added: “They broke the law. They entered the country on tourist visas and worked as journalists.”

According to their employer, the mass-circulation weekly Bild am Sonntag, the two men, who have not been named, travelled to Iran to investigate the case of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a woman sentenced to death by stoning.

They were arrested on October 10 in Tabriz in northwest Iran together with Mohammadi-Ashtiani’s son and the family’s lawyer, according to Bild am Sonntag, part of German publishing group Axel Springer Verlag.

Malek Ajdar Sharifi, justice department chief of East Azerbaijan province where the arrests were made, was quoted by Fars news agency on November 16 as saying that the two men were being accused of espionage.

Contacted by AFP, a German foreign ministry spokesman declined to comment on the aide’s statements, saying only that the ministry was working “with high pressure” towards securing the men’s release.

Mashaie told the FAS that the German embassy has had consular access to the two men three times, that they received presents from their families and that one of them had spoken by phone with relatives.

“There has been a request for a meeting with their families in the German embassy at Christmas. The Iranian government is working on this and we are very optimistic,” he said, calling German-Iranian relations “friendly”.

Bild am Sonntag on Sunday carried an appeal by four former German presidents for Iran to release the reporters.

Iran has also accused three American hikers detained on July 31, 2009 of espionage and illegal entry from across the border with Iraq.

Two of the three — Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer — have been held in a Tehran jail for more than a year. Their female companion, Sarah Shourd, was released on bail.

Latest news

Iran Regime’s Response to Protests Censorship and Violence

The Iranian regime’s leadership has reacted to the ongoing wave of protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, the...

Iran’s New Generation Seeks Nothing but Regime Change

In a silly and desperate statement, the Iranian regime’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian claimed that nothing special is going...

Iran’s Youths Broke the Spell of Fear

One of the main characteristics of the recent protests in Iran is the courage and fearlessness of the people,...

Iran Is on the Brink of a Revolution

The wall of fear has been broken. In many cities across Iran, women are taking to the streets, leading...

Iran’s Regime Claims To Fill Global Energy Gap Despite Crippled Petroleum Sector

In recent weeks, the Iranian regime’s officials have been constantly exaggerating their huge capacity in oil and gas reserves...

What Is Happening in Iran?

Following the brutal killing of Masha Amini, the Iranian people have once again united to fight and defeat the...

Must read

EU’s Solana to meet Iranian nuclear negotiator Wednesday

AFP: Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said Wednesday...

Syrian opposition head fears U.S.-Iran thaw could benefit Assad

Reuters: The head of the Syrian National Coalition opposition...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you