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Renewed call for reopening of Iranian journalists' union headquarters

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has given its full backing to a renewed call from Iranian journalists for the Tehran headquarters of IFJ affiliate, the Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ), to be reopened.

Last Sunday, 26 January, 774 journalists in Iran wrote an open letter to the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, appealing for the lifting of the closure of the AoIJ office. The office has been closed since 5 August 2009, following an order from the then government's general prosecutor.

"We offer our full support and solidarity to Iranian journalists in their renewed appeal for the reopening of the AoIJ's Tehran office," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "We urge President Rouhani to build on the positive approach he has shown to press freedom since his election by ordering the lifting of the closure of the headquarters.

"This would send a strong message about media freedom in Iran and the role of journalists in upholding the right of Iranian citizens to receive trustworthy information."

As part of its long running campaign for the office to be reopened, the IFJ and its affiliates have organised a number of events on Iran in recent years. Most recently, IFJ sent a letter to President Rouhani on 5 November welcoming the new President's approach to press freedom during his early months in office and urging him to make good on his promises and open the AoIJ offices.

Last June the IFJ took part in a round table discussion at the European Parliament about the 'Future for Freedom of Expression and Independent media in Iran,' while on 24 October, the IFJ was involved in the 'Free Iranian Journalists' campaign's discussion for UK parliamentarians at the House of Commons in London.

In its efforts to support colleagues in Iran, the IFJ has also enquired about obtaining visas to send a mission to Iran to find out about the state of press freedom in the country and show solidarity with its Iranian colleagues.

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