Iran has revoked the press accreditation for The New York Times correspondent based in Tehran without explanation, the newspaper reported Tuesday.
While the newspaper said it remained hopeful Thomas Erdbrink soon would be allowed to work again, the revocation comes amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran stemming from President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers a year ago.
Iran pulled Erdbrink’s government-required authorization to work as a journalist four months ago, The Times said. He’s been unable to work since February and The Times said it decided to go public with his situation “after recent speculation and comments on social media.”
“Officials of Iran’s Foreign Ministry have repeatedly assured The Times that Mr. Erdbrink’s credentials would soon be restored but have offered no explanation for the delays or for why it was revoked,” The Times reported , quoting international editor Michael Slackman. “He added that there are some indications this will be resolved soon.”
Iran’s Mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment. There was no immediate response in Iranian state-run media.
Erdbrink, a Dutch national, previously worked as a correspondent for The Washington Post as well. He’s married to Iranian photographer Newsha Tavakolian, who is represented by the Magnum photo agency.
Both he and Tavakolian were the focus of a 2018 documentary about his work and life as a Western journalist in Iran.
Journalists in Iran face harassment from security services, while others have been imprisoned for their work. While local journalists face the brunt of that, foreign journalists in Tehran, especially those with Western ties, have been imprisoned as well.
The last major case involved Iranian-American reporter Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post, who was convicted in an internationally criticized, closed-door espionage trial in 2015. A 2016 prisoner swap negotiated between Iran and the U.S. amid the start of the nuclear deal freed Rezaian and three other Iranian-Americans in exchange for pardons or charges being dropped against seven Iranians. That deal also saw the U.S. make a $400 million cash delivery to Iran.