Greek reporter arrested in Iran

A 30-year-old Greek journalist who has been covering Iran’s disputed presidential election for US newspaper The Washington Times has been arrested, an official at the Culture Ministry in Tehran told foreign reporters yesterday. Iason Athanasiadis, who has contributed to the Greek newspapers Kathimerini and Athens News in the past, was arrested at the end of last week at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, ministry spokesman Mohsen Moghadas-zadeh was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA. Identifying Athanasiadis as Jason Fowden, using the name of the reporter’s father, the official noted, «This reporter of Greek origin has traveled to our country several times for different media, but I have no idea about his offense.» But Moghadaszadeh was quoted as adding, «I call on foreign reporters to work within our laws… because if they act against national security and spy, they will be arrested by security institutions and handed over to the judiciary.» An editor at the Washington paper confirmed that Athanasiadis worked as a freelancer for the paper but could not confirm his whereabouts. Athanasiadis had been filing regular features for The Washington Times about the fallout of the Iranian elections. His most recent piece, published on June 16, was an analysis of Iranian reformist politician and artist Hossein Mousavi, described as «a lightning rod for change.» Iranian authorities have rounded up hundreds of reformist figures and journalists in the wake of the vehement rallies that followed the disputed election results.