Spain's El Pais daily says Tehran correspondent expelled

11th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spain's El Pais newspaper said Monday its Tehran correspondent has been given two weeks to leave Iran, apparently for interviewing the son of a dissident cleric.

Correspondent Angeles Espinosa was detained in Qom in July and her press card withdrawn after she interviewed Ahmad Montazeri, son of the late reformist cleric Ayatollah Montazeri, the daily said.

"Journalists do not have the freedom to leave Tehran. We have to ask for a permit and I never would have received it for that interview," Espinosa was quoted as saying in El Pais.

The Foreign Press Office had indicated she could recover her card after her vacation, the paper said.

But after returning to Tehran to get her accreditation, she was instead deprived of her passport for three weeks.

The passport was returned on Sunday with her residency permit cancelled and a stamp giving her until October 24 to leave the country, according to the newspaper.

"No-one has explained anything to me. Since I got back from vacation, the Foreign Press director general has refused to see me and the office manager indicated that he could not help me, that the instructions came from elsewhere," Espinosa was quoted as saying.

"Through third parties they let me know that the interview with Montazeri, who criticized the supreme leader, was the straw that broke the camel's back," she said.

She said the authorities were already unhappy with her coverage of the June 2009 presidential elections and with an El Pais campaign in support of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.

© 2010 AFP

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