Last UK newspaper reporter leaves Iran

There are now no UK national newspaperss with a correspondent in Iran following the expulsion of Guardian journalist Robert Tait.

Tait was forced to leave with his Iranian wife on 20 December after nearly three years reporting from the country, after his accreditation was stopped.

He said there are now just three British journalists in the country representing AFP, Reuters and the BBC.

‘I know for a fact that all the major British newspapers have tried very hard to get journalists into Iran over the last year, and they have been knocked back or granted visas which are reviewed fortnightly, no doubt on the basis of what they write.”

He said that when he arrived in Iran all the quality UK nationals had representation in Iran, but since then correspondents have either been expelled or had not had their credentials renewed.

He said: ‘When you consider what kind of regime the Iran government is, the biggest surprise is that they let Western journalists in at all. They allow it because they realise Iran is a uniquely important country in a strategic sense, and they need to show a more human face to the world.”

Tait, who is a retained freelance for The Guardian, is now back in London and staying in a hotel at the paper’s expense, with his wife.

He said: ‘We both realised we were not going to stay for the rest of our days in Iran – but didn’t expect to have to leave our home in the space of two-and-half weeks.”

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