A parliament session in Tehran in 2022. Journalist Mohammad Mir-Ghasemzadeh was reportedly working on reports exposing a parliament member's alleged corruption when Mir-Ghasemzadeh was arrested on November 27. (AFP/Atta Kenare)

Iranian journalist Mohammad Mir-Ghasemzadeh arrested as authorities ramp up legal pressure on media

Washington, D.C., November 30, 2023—Iranian authorities must immediately release journalist Mohammad Mir-Ghasemzadeh and cease jailing journalists for simply doing their job, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.

On Monday, security agents with the Islamic Republic’s Intelligence Ministry arrested Mir-Ghasemzadeh, a local reporter in the northern city of Sowme’eh Sara in Gilan province, and took him to a detention center in the city of Rasht, according to news reports and a source who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity citing fear of government reprisal.

As of Thursday, authorities had not disclosed the reason behind Mir-Ghasemzadeh’s detention or any potential charges. Mir-Ghasemzadeh was recently working on a series of reports exposing the alleged financial corruption of a parliament member from Gilan province, according to that source and tweets by the New York-based Independent Center on Human Rights in Iran.

“Iranian authorities are desperate to silence their critics and have now imprisoned local reporter Mohammad Mir-Ghasemzadeh, who was reporting on alleged official corruption,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Authorities must realize that jailing journalists and critical voices won’t help them in hiding Iran’s difficult realities and release Mir-Ghasemzadeh and all jailed journalists immediately.”

Mir-Ghasemzadeh’s health is of particular concern following reports that he was allegedly beaten in custody, according to those sources.

In recent weeks, authorities have ramped up legal pressure on many journalists throughout the country: 

CPJ’s email to Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York requesting comment on Mir-Ghasemzadeh’s arrest did not receive any reply.