Report: Iranian journalist defects to Switzerland while covering nuclear talks

Journalist says he no longer saw any “sense” in his profession as he could only write what he was told, The Telegraph reports.

March 29, 2015 00:17
1 minute read.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (R) and other members of the Iranian delegation

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (R) and Head of Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi talk while other members of their delegation listen after a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry. (photo credit: REUTERS)

An Iranian journalist described as "a close media aide" to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has sought political asylum in Switzerland while covering the nuclear talks between Tehran and world powers currently taking place in the European country, The Telegraph reported on Saturday.

According to the report, Amir Hossein Motaghi, managed public relations for Rouhani during his 2013 election campaign,  and was said by Iranian news agencies to have quit his job with the Iran Student Correspondents Association (ISCA).

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Motaghi appeared on a London based Iranian opposition television station and said he no longer saw any “sense” in his profession as a journalist as he could "only write what he was told," The Telegraph reported. 

“There are a number of people attending on the Iranian side at the negotiations who are said to be journalists reporting on the negotiations,” he told Irane Farda television. “But they are not journalists and their main job is to make sure that all the news fed back to Iran goes through their channels." 

“My conscience would not allow me to carry out my profession in this manner any more,” Motaghi said. 

ISCA issued a statement denying that Motaghi was in Lausanne to report for it, according to the report.

“Amir Hossein Motaghi had terminated his contribution to ISCA and this news agency has not had any reporter at the nuclear talks, except for a photojournalist”, The Telegraph reported.

In his television interview, Mr Mottaghi also voiced support to critics of the proposed nuclear deal.

“The US negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal,” the British daily reported him as saying.

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