British freelance journalist is arrested in Iran

A reporter with joint British and Greek nationality has been arrested in Iran as part of a crackdown on foreign media.

Washington Times journalist Iason Athanasiadis-Fowden, known as Jason Fowden, was arrested as he was attempting to leave the country at the end of last week, the Iranian news agency IRNA quoted a culture ministry official as saying.

The British Foreign Office said it was aware of the journalist’s arrest and understood that Greek officials were providing consular assistance.

“We, of course, stand ready to help if needs be,” a spokeswoman for the department said.

Fowden had been sent to Iran to cover the disputed election.

In a statement on the Washington Times website, executive editor John Solomon said: “We are aware of the report by an Iranian news agency that one of our freelance reporters, Iason Athanasiadis, has been arrested by Iranian authorities.

“We have been trying diligently to ascertain Iason’s whereabouts. We understand that the Greek foreign ministry and the Greek ambassador in Tehran are diligently working to secure his swift release.

“We hope the situation will be resolved very soon.”

The Iranian crackdown of foreign media has seen a number of reporters, including a BBC correspondent, expelled from the country.

Yesterday, EU foreign police chief Javier Solana hit out at the suppression of press reports, describing it as “not something we can accept”.

The Foreign Office said that as far as they were aware Fowden is the only journalist with British links so far arrested in Iran during the recent unrest.

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