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Four journalists, including three U.S. citizens, detained in Iran

UPDATE from 28 July 2014: Iran must explain journalist arrests (Committee to Protect Journalists)

Jason Rezaian is a U.S. citizen and a correspondent for the Washington Post in Tehran. He was detained alongside his wife and two others on 22 July 2014
Jason Rezaian is a U.S. citizen and a correspondent for the Washington Post in Tehran. He was detained alongside his wife and two others on 22 July 2014

The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a Washington Post report today [24 July 2014] that says Iran has detained four journalists--three of whom are U.S. citizens--and calls on authorities to release them immediately. Jason Rezaian, a U.S. citizen and a correspondent for the Post, and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, an Iranian correspondent for the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper The National, were taken into custody in Tehran this week. The report said the other two are photojournalists, but did not identify them. It is not clear why the journalists were arrested.

"We call on Iranian authorities to immediately explain why Jason Rezaian, Yeganeh Salehi, and two other journalists have been detained, and we call for their immediate release," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. "Iran has a dismal record with regard to its treatment of imprisoned journalists. We hold the Iranian government responsible for the safety of these four."

Iranian authorities have detained other international journalists in the past. Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, correspondent for Newsweek magazine, was arrested in June 2009 and held for four months on anti-state charges. In 2010, he was convicted in absentia and given a 13-year prison term. U.S. freelance journalist Roxana Saberi was detained in January 2009 and convicted of espionage in April 2009 and sentenced to eight years in prison. She was released in May 2009. Iran has ranked among the world's top three worst jailers of the press since 2009. With around 35 journalists in jail each, Iran and China are the leading jailers of journalists in the world, according to CPJ research.

What other IFEX members are saying
  • Iran's Detention of Journalists Shows Disregard for Press Freedom

    “Their detention is likely meant to deter other international media organizations from basing correspondents inside Iran, and to instill fear among the domestic media. Despite President Rouhani’s promises of reform, Iran remains one of the worst jailers of journalists in the world with nearly 40 journalists currently imprisoned."

  • 27 journalists now detained in Iran, says IFJ

    "There can be no more excuses. The time for action has come and the president must make good on his election promises by showing respect for the important role of journalists in the future of the Iranian nation."

  • Two American journalists and Iranian reporter held in Iran

    "Arbitrary arrests, illegal summonses, for example by intelligence officers of the Revolutionary Guards, are a daily reality for journalists in Iran. Media workers, particularly foreign journalists based in Tehran, are most often accused of spying. They are the victims of a policy of demonizing the foreign media, which is aggravated by the settling of scores among different groups engaged in a power struggle."

  • Iran: Free or charge journalists

    "These latest arrests, coming hard on the heels of other cases of arrest and imprisonment of journalists, suggests that little has changed with respect to freedom of expression almost a year after President Hassan Rouhani swept to power on a promise of reform."

  • Time for Rouhani to Take Imminent Action – The implications of Jason Rezaian’s Arrest

    What better way to bring under question President Rouhani’s credibility, his ability to foster reform and improve Iran’s international image than to arrest a US journalist without cause, ensuring the full expurgation of his work.

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