Zamaneh has denied any connection or collaboration with the journalists recently detained in Iran and draws attention to the Islamic Republic’s often-used policy of persecuting journalists by accusing them of collaborating with foreign media.

Mohammadreza Nikfar, the chief editor of Zamaneh, commented on Wednesday January 30 on the arrest of a group of journalists in Iran, saying: “We would welcome any relations with journalists and writers in Iran and would consider it a normal affair which is being penalized by an abnormal regime.”

He added: “The problem stems from the regime’s fear of the dissemination of news, a fear that is increasing on a daily basis. Journalists cannot solve or change this psychological dilemma. Their duty is to report the news.

“We have unfortunately not had the honour to have known any of these detainees,” Mohammadreza Nikfar added. “We salute them from here and we consider it our duty to persist in reporting on their situation and all the pressure that is being endured by journalists in Iran.”

The ultra-conservative daily Keyhan reported wrote on Wednesday: “Collaboration with feminist groups … creating division between Iranian ethnic groups, painting a dismal picture of the country, supporting detainees of the seditious movement and collaboration with foreign anti-Revolutionary media such as BBC and Radio Zamaneh are among the charges brought against the media detainees.”

Since Saturday January 26, more than 12 Iranian journalists have been arrested by Iranian authorities. Motahareh Shafii is the only one whose release has been confirmed.

The arrest of these journalists has created a wave of outrage among human rights groups, which have called for their immediate release.

Human Rights Watch has called on the judiciary to respect the rights of these journalists  especially in the months leading up to Iran’s next presidential election in June.