Iran con­sid­ers re­lease of Ger­man re­porters

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

TEHRAN: Iran is con­sid­er­ing a request from Ger­many to free two jour­nal­ists who were ar­rested as they were in­ter­view­ing the son of a woman sen­tenced to be stoned to death, a spokesman said on Tues­day. The an­nounce­ment comes as Ger­many is tak­ing part, along­side the five per­ma­nent mem­bers of the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, in ne­go­ti­a­tions with Iran that the West hopes will ad­dress con­cerns Tehran is seek­ing nu­clear weapons technology.

"There is a new request filed, given the New Year and Christ­mas time, (that) it may be pos­si­ble for them to re­unite with their fam­i­lies. We are fol­low­ing this," For­eign Min­istry spokesman Ramin Mehman­parast told a news con­fer­ence. The ar­rest of the two re­porters for Ger­man weekly Bild am Son­ntag in Oc­to­ber wors­ened re­la­tions be­tween Iran and the Euro­pean Union ahead of the talks.

They were ar­rested while in­ter­view­ing the son of Sakineh Mo­ham­madi Ash­tiani, whose death sen­tence for adul­tery sparked global ou­trage and high­lighted con­cerns about Iran's hu­man rights record.

Mehman­parast said the ju­di­ciary would de­cide on the Ger­mans' fate. He de­nied re­ports that they faced spying charges, a crime which can be pun­ish­able by death. The re­porters did not have the nec­es­sary per­mis­sion to work as jour­nal­ists in Iran where even ac­cred­ited for­eign cor­re­spon­dents need of­fi­cial per­mis­sion to travel out­side Tehran. The ston­ing sen­tence for adul­tery re­ceived global me­dia at­ten­tion, with the EU call­ing it "bar­baric," the Vat­i­can plead­ing for clemency and Brazil of­fer­ing Ash­tiani asy­lum. -Reuters

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