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Iran TV Anchor Quits, Citing Sexual Harassment

By Amanda Scott, VOA

An Iranian news anchor says she was forced to quit her position and flee the country in mid-January following years of repeated sexual harassment by the station's director. Sheena Shirani, a former broadcaster with Press TV, last week published a series of messages and recordings of voicemails she received from news director Hamid Emadi.

Sheena Shirani, Press TV anchor

The station said Emadi and another Press TV official were suspended Monday until further notice while the matter is investigated.

"In our society, women basically have no value," Shirani said in an interview with VOA's Persian service. "Firing people like Mr. Emadi is far from addressing the widespread sexual harassment problem of our society."

In the messages, Emadi repeatedly says how he has helped Shirani at the station and has been very supportive. In a recording of one conversation, reportedly between the two, he is heard asking her to come to his house for sex.

FILE - Press TV Newsroom Director Hamid Reza Emadi speaks with a correspondent during an exclusive interview with Reuters in Tehran, Jan. 21, 2012.

Iran's state news agency quotes Press TV officials as saying "publication of the audio file was made in collaboration with anti-revolution individuals for politicizing the matter."

"Those who dare to rape someone should be made aware that they would be tried before justice no matter how influential they might be," Shirani told VOA. "A woman should not feel scared of verbalizing her difficulties."

Media reports say Shirani has left Iran and has chosen not to disclose her current location.

Emadi and his Press TV boss, Mohammad Sarafraz, were banned by the European Union in 2013 for their alleged role in extracting and broadcasting forced confessions of political prisoners.

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