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NYT: Iran Says an American’s Reports Were ‘Illegal’

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Roxana Saberi with Iran’s former President Mohammad Khatami in an undated photograph released by her family. (Credit: Saberi/NPR)

Roxana Saberi with Iran’s former President Mohammad Khatami in an undated photograph released by her family. (Credit: Saberi/NPR)

In “The Lede: Notes on the News,” New York Times reporter Robert Mackey wrote on Monday that a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, Hasan Qashqavi, said that Roxana Saberi, an American freelance journalist who was detained in Iran four weeks ago, had been doing “completely illegal and unauthorized” work.

According to an Associated Press report, Mr. Qashqavi pointed out that Iran had revoked Ms. Saberi’s press credentials in 2006, but he “refused to say whether the 31-year-old freelance journalist, who has reported for National Public Radio and other media, was in prison.”

The article examines Saberi’s coverage of Iran and how this may have lead to her detention by Iranian authorities.

Ms. Saberi has frequently tackled subjects that skirt the edges of taboo in the more conservative Iran that Mr. Ahmadinejad hopes to continue leading. In 2007 Ms. Saberi produced a radio report for N.P.R. on women being arrested as part of “a new wave of Iran’s nationwide morality crackdown against fashions deemed un-Islamic.” In 2006, she filed a report for the BBC from Tehran on the growing popularity of Sufism, a mystical form of Islam frowned upon by the conservative Shiite authorities. Two weeks ago, as Ms. Fathi reported, the government “destroyed the place of worship of members of a Sufi group called the Gonabadi Dervishes” in Isfahan, a city in central Iran.

Written by Keith Kamisugi

March 4, 2009 at 12:52 am

Posted in Media

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