Guardian journalist “guilty of negative coverage” expelled from Iran

The Guardian’s Iran correspondent Richard Tait has been expelled from Iran at a second attempt by the authorities.

Describing the current situation in the country he writes in the paper today:

“Under Ahmadinejad, the flame of relative glasnost tentatively ignited under the reformist presidency of Mohammad Khatami has been extinguished. Liberal-minded newspapers critical of the government have been closed and journalists jailed for misdemeanours ranging from printing “lies” to insulting Islamic mores. Criticism is not welcomed and is being met with decreasing tolerance.

“This prohibitive atmosphere has spread to the rapidly dwindling foreign press corps and, in that context, my effective expulsion is hardly surprising. I was the last remaining British print journalist of an English-language newspaper. Other reporters had either been expelled or had left, their places vacant after visas were denied to their chosen replacements. With a tiny number of exceptions, most western outlets now rely on English-speaking local Iranian correspondents, a situation welcomed by the authorities who reason that their own citizens are more susceptible to pressure than journalists from outside.”

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