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Reuters can reopen Tehran bureau, Iran says

Iran has given Reuters permission to reopen its Tehran bureau after work there was suspended more than a year ago over a video report that caused offence in the Islamic republic.

“The court authorised Reuters to open its Tehran bureau,” deputy culture minister Mohammad Jafar Mohammadzadeh told the ISNA news agency on Saturday. “Last week the ministry told Reuters it could restart its work in Iran.”

A special Iranian media court found Reuters guilty in September 2012 of “propaganda against the regime” and “publishing false information in an effort to disturb public opinion” in a report that portrayed female martial arts students as assassins.

Tehran withdrew the press credentials of all staff at the bureau after the story was published in March 2012 and suspended the work of the agency. Bureau chief Parisa Hafezi, an Iranian national, was banned from travelling and her passport was confiscated.

The script of a video report on a group of female ninjas training had the headline “Thousands of female Ninjas train as Iran’s assassins”. Reuters subsequently changed it to read “Three thousand women Ninjas train in Iran”. It later removed the report. Editor-in-chief Stephen Adler said the mistake was not malicious.

Iranian authorities have revoked credentials of staff of foreign media or expelled foreign staff over reporting deemed objectionable, such as interviews with opposition figures, on several occasions since the 1979 revolution. ■

Agence France-Presse