09 August 2023

Iran summons British envoy over call for release of journalists

09 August 2023

Iran’s foreign ministry has summoned Britain’s envoy to Tehran over his posts on social media calling for the government to release all people “arbitrarily detained” in Iran, the state-run news agency reported.

The IRNA news agency said British Ambassador Simon Shercliff was summoned for posting on Tuesday what the ministry described as “interfering remarks” on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

The posting came as Iran marked Journalists Day, commemorating the death of Mohammad Saremi, an Iranian journalist who worked for IRNA, and eight other Iranians killed by the Taliban on August 8, 1998 in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan.

Mr Shercliff noted the commemoration and said: “We pay tribute to all journalists prevented from doing their jobs and facing threats to their safety.”

“We reiterate our call for Iran to release all arbitrarily detained individuals, including journalists,” the British envoy added.

Iran often summons foreign envoys to protest over their remarks. There was no immediate comment from the UK Embassy.

Iran has detained nearly 20,000 people during nationwide protests sparked by the death in custody last September of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman held by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code.

The protests escalated into calls for the overthrow of the ruling clerics, marking one of the biggest challenges to their four-decade rule since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Iran ranked as the world’s worst jailer of journalists in 2022. Overall, authorities are known to have detained at least 95 journalists in the wake of the protests following Ms Amini’s death.

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