Iranian authorities have barred the Tehran-based correspondent for The New York Times from working for the past four months, the newspaper said Monday.
The correspondent, Thomas Erdbrink, a Netherlands citizen, has reported for The Times from Iran since 2012. He resides in Tehran but has been unable to work since late February, when his press credential was revoked.
The Times decided to make the issue public after recent speculation and comments on social media. Erdbrink’s absence from the news report has become increasingly conspicuous because of escalating tensions between the Iranian authorities and the United States, The Times added.
Officials of Iran’s Foreign Ministry have repeatedly assured The Times that Erdbrink’s credential would soon be restored but have offered no explanation for the delays or for why it was revoked, said the Times international editor, Michael Slackman. He added that there are some indications this will be resolved soon.
Erdbrink’s wife, Newsha Tavakolian, an Iranian citizen and award-winning photographer represented by the Magnum photo agency, also has been denied permission to work, The Times said. She has shot for The Times and other news organizations since 2001.
It is rare, but not unheard-of, for governments to suspend or invalidate the credentials of foreign correspondents, which are required for them to work without penalty. Erdbrink has temporarily lost his credential previously, the newspaper noted.
The Trump administration, which abandoned the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran last year, has reimposed sanctions that the agreement had rescinded, putting enormous new pressure on Iran’s economy. The administration also has moved to strengthen the American military presence in the Persian Gulf in response to what it has called increased Iranian threats.