ISTANBUL — Iranian authorities revoked the credentials of a New York Times journalist and have barred him from working in Iran for the past four months, the newspaper said Monday.
Thomas Erdbrink, a Dutch citizen, is a Tehran-based correspondent for the Times and has written for the paper since 2012.
Iran’s government did not give an explanation for its decision to withdraw Erdbrink’s press credentials but have “repeatedly assured” the Times that they would soon be restored.
Authorities also denied Erdbrink’s wife, award-winning photographer Newsha Tavakolian, permission to work, the paper said. Tavakolian is an Iranian citizen and has published photos in the Times and with other news organizations since 2001.
Erdbrink previously reported for The Washington Post from Tehran.
Rights groups say Iran is one of the world’s worst violators of press freedom and that Iranian journalists are regularly subjected to intimidation, arrest and unfair trials.
More than 800 journalists have been imprisoned or executed in Iran since the 1979 revolution, according to the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, or RSF.
Jason Rezaian, who was The Post’s correspondent in Tehran, was arrested by Iranian authorities in 2014 and held in the notorious Evin prison for 544 days.
Few Western news organizations maintain an official presence inside Iran, where authorities have in recent years arrested several dual and foreign nationals, including Americans.
The Iranian government “has extended its fight against media freedom beyond the country’s borders and also targets the international media,” RSF says.
The moves come amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States, which has targeted Tehran with a so-called maximum pressure campaign to cripple its economy and isolate its leaders.
In November, the Trump administration reimposed harsh economic sanctions that were lifted under a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, including the United States. The deal curbed Iran’s nuclear energy program in exchange for widespread sanctions relief. The administration withdrew from the pact, however, saying it failed to address issues such as Iran’s ballistic missile program.
In recent weeks, the Trump administration also said it was moving more military assets to the Middle East in a show of force to deter Iran.