Iran reporter sent to nuclear talks seeks political asylum

An Iranian journalist for a reformist news outlet who travelled to Lausanne to report on nuclear talks has applied for political asylum in Switzerland, the foreign ministry in Tehran said.

AFP| Updated: Mar 31, 2015, 13:48 PM IST

Tehran: An Iranian journalist for a reformist news outlet who travelled to Lausanne to report on nuclear talks has applied for political asylum in Switzerland, the foreign ministry in Tehran said.

Amir Hossein Motaghi, who worked for the Iran Student Correspondents Association (ISCA), was sacked on March 24 after his bosses learned of his defection, a ministry statement said.

After his defection Motaghi, reportedly a media aide for President Hassan Rouhani during his successful 2013 election campaign, spoke to foreign media about sensitive political issues, an act deemed unacceptable for reporters working in Iranian media.

Iranian news websites reported Motaghi`s dissatisfaction with the conditions facing journalists in Iran. Media outlets meanwhile wrote articles blaming ISCA management for sending him to Lausanne.

Motaghi has repeatedly posted about sensitive issues on his Instagram account, including a picture of Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post`s correspondent in Iran, who was jailed in July last year and is facing trial on unspecified charges.

Motaghi also put a picture of Rezaian`s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, on his Instagram page. Salehi was arrested at the same time as Rezaian but she was bailed in October though she has not worked as a journalist since.

"I hope they will be released soon," Motaghi wrote in the caption to the picture he posted eight months ago.

Iranians are watching the talks in Lausanne closely, where foreign ministers from Iran, the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany hope to strike a deal over the Islamic republic`s disputed nuclear programme.