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Iranian Journalists to Rouhani: Stop Lying

Source: IranWire

(cartoon by Touka Neyestani)

In a letter to President Hassan Rouhani, 135 Iranian reporters, editors and media workers from inside and outside Iran urged the president not to insult them by lying about the persecution of journalists in Iran.

The letter, published in Persian on IranWire, criticized Rouhani for recent comments he made during an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. During the interview, which took place while Rouhani was in the country to attend a UN General Assembly meeting, Amanpour asked the president to comment on the case of Jason Rezaian, the jailed Washington Post journalist. "I really don't believe the fact at all,” he said. “I do not believe that an individual would be detained or put in prison for being a journalist.”

Technically, Rouhani is right, but the reality is somewhat different. Most of those in prison are not charged with activities related to journalism. Instead, it’s “endangering the security of the nation,” “spreading propaganda,” “insulting the Supreme Leader”. In some cases, journalists are held on charges of “promoting corruption” or “prostitution”.

According to research conducted by IranWire, there are 65 professional and citizen journalists in prison in Iran. All of them were arrested because of their reporting. Since the disputed presidential election in 2009, almost 300 journalists have been arrested. Iran has the highest number of women journalists in prison, and hundreds of Iranian journalists are forced to live in exile.

In their letter to Rouhani, which to date has 135 signatories, journalists asked Rouhani to honor his election promises: greater freedom for journalists, and a safer and more secure working environment. The letter is published in English below.

Plus: Journalism is not a Crime, a database of Iranian journalists who have been targeted by the Iranian government

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran:

Your Excellency,

When you came to power in June 2013, you promised that you would create a more secure working environment for journalists and the media in our country.

Once again, in February 2014, you reminded the citizens of Iran of your election promises, stating that journalists should be entitled to greater security while doing their jobs. You said that shutting down a newspaper is not the right way to warn those who may have infringed on the law.

We, the undersigned, hoped you would take serious and practical measures to fulfill your promises. Yet more than a year after resuming office, the demands and expectations of journalists have not been realized. In fact, in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, you denied that there was anyone in jail in Iran for their work as a journalist.

You were once critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration and its habit of concealing and denying the truth. Your recent denial that a problem even exists echoes this sentiment, and remind us of its impact.

We, the undersigned journalists, believe that it is unethical, unprofessional and insulting to deny the fact that, today, many journalists remain in prison in Iran for doing their jobs. Moreover, a number of journalists have been imprisoned during your presidency.

In our country, security agents regularly imprison journalists, denying them their basic rights simply for carrying out their duty: to inform the public. As the head of the executive branch, and as the second highest official of the land, whose responsibility includes supervising the execution of the constitution by different branches of the government, it is your duty to improve the situation of Iranian journalists.

At the very least, we expect you to correct your false statement concerning imprisoned journalists in Iran. But we hope for more, and we ask you to fulfill your promises to create a more secure environment for journalists in our country.


  • The Committee to Protect Journalists
  • English PEN
  • Index on Censorship
  • International Federation of Journalists
  • Reporters sans Frontiers


  1. Aida Ghajar
  2. Ahmad Rafat
  3. Alieh Motalebzadeh
  4. Ali Asghar Ramezanpour
  5. Ali Shirazi
  6. Ali Mazrouei
  7. Alireza Latifian
  8. Amirhossein Mossala
  9. Arash Bahmani
  10. Arash Ashourinia
  11. Arash Azizi
  12. Behdad Bordbar
  13. Behrouz Samadbeygi
  14. Bijan Farhoudi
  15. Darioush Memar
  16. Delbar Tavakoli
  17. Ehsan Mehrabi
  18. Elnaz Mohammadi
  19. Ershad Alijani
  20. Fatemeh Jamalpour
  21. Farshad Ghorbanpour
  22. Fereshte Ghazi
  23. Farshid Faryabi
  24. Farahmand Alipour
  25. Fariborz Soroush
  26. Farid Haeinejad
  27. Farideh Ghaeb
  28. Firouzeh Ramezanzadeh
  29. Hamid Eslami
  30. Hamidreza Ebrahimzadeh
  31. Hanif Mazrouei
  32. Homayoun Kheiri
  33. Hossein Alavi
  34. Javad Heidarian
  35. Isa Saharkhiz
  36. Kamyar Behrang
  37. Kaveh Ghoreishi
  38. Khatereh Vatankhah
  39. Ladan Salami
  40. Lida Ayaz
  41. Lida Hosseininejad
  42. Leila Sa'adati
  43. Leili Nikounazar
  44. Maziar Bahari
  45. Maziar Khosravi
  46. Mana Neyestani
  47. Mani Tehrani
  48. Mahrokh Gholamhosseinpour
  49. Mojtaba Najafi
  50. Majid Saeedi
  51. Mohammad Aghazadeh
  52. Mohammad Tangestani
  53. Mohammad Hossein Nejati
  54. Mohammad Rahbar
  55. Mohammad Ghadamali
  56. Mohammad Kassaeizadeh
  57. Mohammadreza Nassababdollahi
  58. Mahmoud Farjami
  59. Morteza Kazemian
  60. Marjan Tabatabaei
  61. Maryam Amiri
  62. Maryam Jafari
  63. Maryam Shahsamandi
  64. Maryam Majd
  65. Mazdak Alinazari
  66. Masoud Behnoud
  67. Masoud Safiri
  68. Masoud Kazemi
  69. Masoud Lavasani
  70. Mostafa Khalaji
  71. Maliheh Mohammadi
  72. Mansoureh Farahani
  73. Mahdi Tajik
  74. Mehdi Jami
  75. Mehdi Ghadimi
  76. Mehdi Mahmoudian
  77. Mehdi Vazirbani
  78. Mehdi Mohseni
  79. Mehran Faraji
  80. Mehraveh Kharazmi
  81. Mehrad Abolghassemi
  82. Mehrdad Hojati
  83. Mehrdad Mashayekhi
  84. Mitra Khalatbari
  85. Meisam Youssefi
  86. Milad Beheshti
  87. Minou Momeni
  88. Nazanin Kazemi
  89. Nazanin Matin'nia
  90. Nasrin Zahiri
  91. Naeimeh Doustdar
  92. Negin Behkam
  93. Noushabeh Amiri
  94. Noushin Pirouz
  95. Nikahang Kowsar
  96. Nima Dehghani
  97. Niousha Saremi
  98. Omid Montazeri
  99. Parvaneh Vahidmanesh
  100. Panah Farhadbahman
  101. Pourya Souri
  102. Reza Ansarirad
  103. Reza Haghighatnejad
  104. Reza Rafiei
  105. Reza Shokrollahi
  106. Rouzbeh Mirebrahimi
  107. Roya Maleki
  108. Reihaneh Mazaheri
  109. Sara Damavandan
  110. Saghi Laghaei
  111. Sam Mahmoudi Sarabi
  112. Sanaz Ghazizadeh
  113. Sepideh Behkam
  114. Sahar Bayati
  115. Soroush Farhadian
  116. Saeid Shams
  117. Saeideh Amin
  118. Soulmaz Eikder
  119. Siamak Ghaderi
  120. Seyyed Mojtaba Vahedi
  121. Sina Shahbaba
  122. Shabnam Shabani
  123. Shahram Rafizadeh
  124. Shahrzad Hemati
  125. Shohreh Asemi
  126. Shirzad Abdollahi
  127. Shirin Famili
  128. Shima Shahrabi
  129. Saba Sherdoust
  130. Sadra Mohaghegh
  131. Tahereh Rahimi
  132. Tara Bonyad
  133. Taraneh Baniyaghoub
  134. Touka Neyestani
  135. Youssef Azizi Banitorof


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