Journalist for British paper expelled from Iran
Iranian authorities have ordered the only US journalist based in Tehran to leave the country because he reported on the aftermath of the Bam earthquake without permission, his British newspaper said.The Guardian said correspondent Dan de Luce, 38, would return to London on Thursday after authorities declined to renew his visa and accreditation. He would be permitted to reapply in three months, authorities said.
Mr De Luce had published a dispatch last month critical of the reconstruction effort in Bam after last year's earthquake which killed more than 20,000 people.
He had travelled to the city as an aid volunteer, after being denied a permit to make the trip as a journalist.
"Dan de Luce deliberately contravened the regulations. His professional activities have been suspended for three months and this is not because of what he wrote but because of contravention of the regulations," the Iranian Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance said in a statement.
Mr De Luce told The Guardian he was disappointed to be leaving.
"I was just trying to do my job. I wrote the story from Bam because I thought it was important to document the situation there, what the survivors and the aid agencies were saying," he said.Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said the expulsion "can only set back our attempts to understand the fast-changing nature of Iranian society", adding he hoped Iran would reconsider.
The British Foreign Office said it was for Iran to decide who could enter the country, but Mr de Luce's expulsion "sends the wrong messages about freedom of the press, about Iran's willingness to engage sensibly with the international community".
Mr De Luce's predecessor for The Guardian, Geneive Abdo, left Tehran in 2001, expressing fear she might be punished after authorities criticised her interview with a political prisoner.
That's too bad. We got good articles from De Luce.