Iran's government has confirmed that an Iranian journalist had defected while covering negotiations in Switzerland between Tehran and world powers on the country's nuclear program.
In a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency late on March 29, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said the journalist defected last week and was suspended from his job at the semi-official ISCA agency.
ISCA editor Amir Hossein Motaqi told RFE/RL on March 26 that he decided to seek asylum in Switzerland after being hampered in his journalistic work by Iranian officials.
“Officials from the Foreign Ministry demanded that we cover the news they wanted -- news that was not true -- or not to cover news that they didn’t want to be published,” Motaqi told RFE/RL in a telephone interview from Lausanne.
Motaqi has campaigned for Hassan Rohani in the run-up to the 2013 presidential election.