Iran pulls press credential for NY Times reporter

Iran pulls press credential for NY Times reporter
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Iranian authorities have pulled the press credential for a Tehran-based New York Times reporter and denied him access for four months, according to the newspaper

The Times said Monday that it elected to publicize the issue "after recent speculation and comments on social media." The newspaper noted that Thomas Erdbrink, a correspondent and Netherlands citizen, has been reporting for the publication in Iran since 2012. 

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But Erdbrink has been unable to work since authorities revoked his press credential in February. 

Michael Slackman, the Times's international editor, said Iran’s Foreign Ministry repeatedly assured the paper that Erdbrink's press pass would be restored. But Slackman said the office has offered no explanation on why the credential was revoked and why it has yet to be restored. 

He told the newspaper that there is some indication that the matter will be resolved soon. 

The Times said Erdbrink's wife, Newsha Tavakolian, an Iranian citizen and award-winning photographer, has also been denied permission to work there for the Magnum photo agency. 

The controversy involving one of the Times's reporters comes amid heightened tensions between the Trump administration and Iran. The feud has stemmed in large part from Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from a nuclear deal with Tehran. 

Iran’s judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili declined to comment on Erdbrink's press credential during a press conference on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.

“Regarding this person, I have no information on what has happened,” Esmaili said, adding that the nation allowed many journalists to work in the region. 

Erdbrink reported from Iran for Dutch media and The Washington Post before joining the Times. The Times noted that his press pass previously had been temporarily rescinded. His successor at the Post, Iranian-American journalist Jason Rezaian, was imprisoned for 544 days after an internationally criticized espionage trial in 2015. 

Rezaian was released in 2016 as part of a prisoner exchange that took place amid the start of the nuclear deal, the Times noted.