Iran 'detains' former BBC reporter and translator Bahman Daroshafaei

Iran 'detains' former BBC reporter and translator Bahman Daroshafaei
An Iranian-British journalist and translator was arrested from his home on Wednesday, according to Iranian opposition sources, as part of an ongoing crackdown on journalists ahead of much-anticipated elections.
2 min read
04 February, 2016
Bahman Daroshafaei previously worked for the Farsi-language service of the BBC [Twitter]
A former BBC Persian service reporter has been detained by authorities in Iran, according to an Iranian opposition website.

Bahman Daroshafaei, thought to be an Iranian-British citizen, was taken from his home by judiciary officers on Wednesday morning, reported

Daroshafaei, who left the BBC Persian service in London about two years ago, was working as translator of political books and novels.

The news of the detention surfaced as Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in London on Thursday to participate in a meeting on Syria.

Calls to judiciary officials were not immediately returned on Thursday, part of the weekend in Iran.

The move could be part of an ongoing crackdown on journalists and activists by hard-liners ahead of highly anticipated parliamentary elections scheduled for later this month, said analysts.

Earlier this week, the lawyer for two journalists, Isa Saharkhiz and Ehsun Mazandarani, detained in November, said authorities had accused them of acting against national security. Their detention followed the arrest of other cultural figures, including two poets and a filmmaker.

The detentions and arrests come ahead of highly anticipated late-February elections for both the parliament and the all-cleric Assembly of Experts, the body that chooses Iran's supreme leaders.

The elections are expected to be a showdown between hard-liners and moderates allied with President Hassan Rouhani.

Last month, Iran released Jason Rezaian, an Iranian-American journalist who served as Tehran bureau chief for The Washington Post, after two years in detention on charges of espionage.

A deal reached in July last year has allowed Iran's regime to be gradually rehabilitated and reintegrated into the international community in return for accepting rigorous curbs on its nuclear programme. 

International sanctions on Iran have since been lifted with hundreds of billions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets unlocked, and major trade deals signed between Western capitals and Tehran, with little pressure placed to address its human rights record.