The head of foreign press at the Iranian Ministry of Culture has announced a trial date for the Reuters bureau chief in Tehran.
Mahammad Javad Aghajari told IRNA: “The first session of the trial against [Parisa Hafezi], the head of the Reuters News Agency Bureau, on the charge of referring to Iranian female athletes as terrorists, will take place on September 30.”
He added: “It is likely that the court will decide that Reuters’ activities will be completely banned in Tehran, in which case its office will be closed. But until the court has issued an official ruling, the news agency’s activities are suspended.”
Aghajari maintained that Reuters is among the foreign news agencies that had received several warning regarding the unacceptable nature of some of their published views.
The Culture Ministry official added that while Reuters has apologized both in writing and over the phone, the apology must be made in person during a discussion about its future activities.
Earlier this year, Reuters published a report claiming 3,000 female ninjas were being trained in Karaj. The report indicated that the training was aimed at “killing foreign invaders” and it accused the Iranian government of training assassins.
Iranian female martial arts athletes, whose images accompanied this report, filed a suit against Reuters. Soon after, Iranian authorities suspended Reuters’ activities in Tehran and filed a suit against Parisa Hafezi, the Tehran bureau chief.
Reuters responded by changing the content of its report and apologizing for its actions.