A man browses the headlines at a news stand in Iran's capital Tehran on November 8, 2020. Iranian journalist Amir-Abbas Azarmvand was arrested and charged with spreading propaganda. (AFP/Atta Kenare)

Iran arrests financial reporter Amir-Abbas Azarmvand on security charges

Washington, D.C., September 1, 2021 — Iranian authorities should immediately release journalist Amir-Abbas Azarmvand, drop the charges against him, and let him work freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Today, Azarmvand, a financial reporter for the state run Iranian economic newspaper SMT, was arrested at 8:30 a.m. at his parents’ home in Tehran by security agents of the intelligence ministry, according to the exile-run news website IranWire and the Human Rights Activists News Agency, a U.S.-based outlet that covers news in Iran.

Azarmvand was charged with “spreading propaganda against the system,” IranWire reported, citing the journalist’s colleague, who spoke to the outlet on the condition of anonymity due to the fear of reprisal.

According to the source, the agents presented Azarmvand with an arrest warrant citing recent critical reporting for SMT on the “difficult economic situation of union workers and some of the new economic decisions by the government.”

“Iranian authorities must free financial reporter Amir-Abbas Azarmvand immediately and unconditionally,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Iran’s continued jailing of journalists for doing their jobs is an outrageous form of censorship that must end.”

According to the report in IranWire, security agents searched the house and confiscated Azarmvand’s laptop, cellphone, and some books and transferred him to ward 209 of Evin prison, which is run by the intelligence ministry. 

Both reports stated that Azarmvand had also been arrested in the fall of 2018 and 2020 for his journalistic work, but provided no further details.

CPJ emailed SMT’s managing director but did not receive an immediate response.

CPJ also emailed Alireza Miryousefi, the head of the media office of Iran’s mission to the United Nations, for comment, but did not receive any reply.