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Mutually restrictive visa policies for journalists in Iran and USA

(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a CPJ blog post:

By Joel Simon/CPJ Executive Director

Istanbul-based McClatchy correspondent Roy Gutman has been honored for his reporting from Srebrenica to Baghdad. But he can't get a visa for Iran. He blames the U.S. government, at least in part.

The problem, in Gutman's view, is a short-sighted policy that essentially excludes Iranian journalists from the United States. Iranian journalists are almost never granted journalists visas that would allow them to travel freely in the U.S. Those who are admitted generally accompany visiting government delegations and are given a limited visa, called a C-2, which restricts them to within a 25-mile radius of the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Iran has reciprocated in kind, granting limited visas to U.S. reporters and circumscribing the movements of those it does admit. "I was talking to a press officer at the Iranian mission about the difficulty of getting a visa to cover Iran and he pointed out that Iranian journalists in the U.S. get the same treatment," said Gutman. "I think this is terrible."

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