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Tehran bureau chief Parisa Hafezi leaves Iran

Reuters' award-winning Tehran bureau chief Parisa Hafezi, pictured, has been allowed to leave Iran with her two daughters only days before a scheduled verdict and sentencing on charges of spreading lies and propaganda about the Islamic republic.

Reuters people said she left late last week. There has been no word on a ruling in the case, which had been due on Monday.

The Iranian government suspended the accreditation of all Reuters staff in Tehran in March after publication of a video script on women’s martial arts training that erroneously described the athletes as “assassins”. Reuters corrected the script and apologised for the error after the women’s martial arts club complained. Hafezi, bureau chief since 2009, was not involved in drafting the script but she was banned from travelling and her Iranian passport was confiscated. Most staff in Tehran moved to Dubai and since then Reuters has been unable to report from Iran.

In September, a special media court in Iran found Reuters guilty of “propagating against the Islamic Republic and disseminating false information to disturb public opinion,” Iran’s Press TV reported at the time.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists last month expressed concern about Hafezi. A year ago she travelled to the United States to receive an award for courage in journalism given by the International Women’s Media Foundation. ■