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Iran closes Al Jazeera bureau
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Iran closes Al Jazeera bureau - 16-June-2009, 01:50

Iran closes Al Jazeera bureau
Chris Forrester

Iran has "suspended the work" of the Al Jazeera news channel's bureau in Tehran. BBC Monitoring carried the report.

The closure took place on Sunday morning. Al Jazeera's local correspondent. Diya al-Nasiri, told viewers T"he Iranian authorities informed us of the need to suspend the work of our bureau here in Tehran for a week. Work suspension does not mean shutting down the bureau, as they put it. However, we are not authorized to carry on with our job; accordingly, this live linkup might be our last live appearance as Al-Arabiya correspondents for a whole week."

"I asked about the reasons but things have not been made clear thus far. No one has explained to us the actual reasons behind this suspension. Of course, we will start negotiations with the Iranian side and Iranian authorities to understand what really happened, what the actual reasons are, or at least to have them hear our side of the story."

Al-Nasiri goes on to say: "There was certain information that they [the members of the Ministry of Islamic Guidance and Culture] considered incorrect and that and that they asked us to correct."

He adds: "We used to carry certain issues, without any interference or editing. Nonetheless, everything that happened during the past two days was resolved through continuous contact and communication. Moreover, the Iranian official television and radio used to carry some of our relays and translate certain reports that I worked on for Iranian television and it never objected to the content of these reports."

Asked if the Al-Arabiya bureau is the only bureau to be suspended or if other channels have been subjected to similar procedures, Al-Nasiri says: "I do not have any information in this regard. I could not contact other colleagues. What I was informed of last night is that the equipment of one of the cameramen in a foreign agency was confiscated by the police and not by the Ministry of Islamic Guidance and Culture, which grants permits to the journalists."

Separate to the Al Jazeera problems, the BBC has been accused of "provoking" unrest in Iran with its coverage of the recent elections, in many cases retransmitted over Iran by its BBC World satellite channel.

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