Iranian reporter with Zarif flees in Sweden, seeks asylum – report

Fazel was political editor for Iran’s Moj news agency and had previously worked for the government-funded Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

By ALEX WINSTON
August 27, 2019 12:50
1 minute read.
Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attends a joint news conference after meeting with Norway's Fore

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attends a joint news conference after meeting with Norway's Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide in Oslo, Norway, August 22, 2019.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Amir Tohid Fazel, a hardline Iranian journalist with ties to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has refused to return to Iran and is requesting asylum in Sweden or Norway after accompanying Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on his tour of the Scandinavian region, Iranian newspaper Kayhan reported.

Fazel was political editor for Iran’s Moj news agency and had previously worked for the government-funded Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Al Arabiya news agency quoted Moj’s editor-in-chief Amir Mortazavi telling Iranian news site Ensaf News that “[Fazel] was a political editor at the agency and was sent to Sweden with the Foreign Ministry." Mortazavi added that “he has not come to work since going to Sweden.”

Kayhan referred to Fazel as a traitor.

Over the weekend several Iranian news reporters wrote on Twitter that Fazel did not return to Iran and accused the reporter of taking advantage of Zarif and the Foreign Ministry for personal gain, Radio Farda reported.

Fazel cryptically responded on Twitter that, "Everyone can decide for himself. No one knows what happens in the future. Only the short-sighted will speak out of ignorance," without revealing his location.

There has been no official confirmation or comment from Iran or Sweden about Fazel's defection.

Zarif visited Sweden before flying to Biarritz in a surprise visit to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, who was hosting the G7 summit at the time.


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