Meacham: “[Maziar Bahari] Was Doing His Job”

In today’s Washington Post, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham writes in support of Maziar Bahari, the Newsweek reporter who was taken into custody in Iran last month:

Maziar Bahari is a Newsweek reporter, a documentary filmmaker, a playwright, author, artist and, since June 21, a prisoner being held in Iran without formal charges or access to a lawyer. The Iranian state press has attached Bahari’s name to a “confession” made in vague terms and conditional tenses about foreign media influence on the unrest in Iran that followed the declaration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection on June 12.

Some in the government of Iran would like to portray Bahari as a kind of subversive or even as a spy. He is neither. He is a journalist; a man who was doing his job, and doing it fairly and judiciously, when he was arrested. Maziar Bahari is an agent only of the truth as best he can see it, and his body of work proves him to be a fair-minded observer who eschews ideological cant in favor of conveying the depth and complexity of Iranian life and culture to the wider world. Few have argued more extensively and persuasively, for instance, that Iran’s nuclear program is an issue of national pride, not just the leadership’s obsession…

With respect, then, we ask the government of Iran to grant Bahari the rights he is guaranteed under Iranian law: that he be allowed to see a lawyer and, if there are no charges against him — and we believe there should be no charges — that he be released immediately.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.