The Washington Post

Iran revoked

- BY ERIN CUNNINGHAM erin.cunningham@washpost.com

a New York Times journalist’s

credential­s and has barred him from working there for the past four months, the newspaper said.

ISTANBUL — Iranian authoritie­s revoked the credential­s of a New York Times journalist and have barred him from working in Iran for the past four months, the newspaper said Monday.

Thomas Erdbrink, a Dutch citizen, is a Tehran-based correspond­ent for the Times and has written for the paper since 2012.

Iran’s government did not give an explanatio­n for its decision to withdraw Erdbrink’s press credential­s but have “repeatedly assured” the Times that they would soon be restored.

Authoritie­s also denied Erdbrink’s wife, award-winning photograph­er Newsha Tavakolian, permission to work, the paper said. Tavakolian is an Iranian citizen and has published photos in the Times and with other news organizati­ons since 2001.

Erdbrink previously reported for The Washington Post from Tehran.

Rights groups say Iran is one of the world’s worst violators of press freedom and that Iranian journalist­s are regularly subjected to intimidati­on, arrest and unfair trials.

More than 800 journalist­s have been imprisoned or executed in Iran since the 1979 revolution, according to the Parisbased Reporters Without Borders, or RSF.

Jason Rezaian, who was The Post’s correspond­ent in Tehran, was arrested by Iranian authoritie­s in 2014 and held in the notorious Evin prison for 544 days.

Few Western news organizati­ons maintain an official presence inside Iran, where authoritie­s have in recent years arrested several dual and foreign nationals, including Americans.

The Iranian government “has extended its fight against media freedom beyond the country’s borders and also targets the internatio­nal media,” RSF says.

The moves come amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States, which has targeted Tehran with a socalled maximum pressure campaign to cripple its economy and isolate its leaders.

In November, the Trump administra­tion reimposed harsh economic sanctions that were lifted under a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, including the United States. The deal curbed Iran’s nuclear energy program in exchange for widespread sanctions relief. The administra­tion withdrew from the pact, however, saying it failed to address issues such as Iran’s ballistic missile program.

In recent weeks, the Trump administra­tion also said it was moving more military assets to the Middle East in a show of force to deter Iran.

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