Project Abroad Stalls for Environmental Journalists

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – A group of environmental journalists was stopped from boarding a flight to Germany at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport on October 8th. Authorities’ reasons for obstructing them are still unknown.

One of the journalists in the group, Javad Heydarian, said that intelligence agents halted their departure and confiscated their passports. The group was then referred to the special court of financial crimes. HRANA is in the process of confirming the identities of the remaining 7 would-be travelers.

According to Heydarian, the German Embassy, along with Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Department of Environment, had advance knowledge of the group’s travel plans.

“The German Embassy was also aware of the sensitivity of this trip,” Heydarian elaborated, adding that their plans in Germany were a continuation of a project that Iranian judges, the Municipality of Tehran, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had already approved.

Environmental activists in Iran have recently faced increasing pressure from authorities. Many were detained for extended periods and subjected to judicial pressures on diverse pretexts, including two groups arrested in Tehran and Homorzgan this past spring, many of whom are still in detention, and 8 of whom have been charged with espionage.

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