Iranian diplomats at Geneva for talks with world powers over the nation’s nuclear program have taken to giving midnight briefings, but only to their own media — including a couple of reformist newspapers’ journalists.
The Iranian delegation arrived with a 31-person contingent of journalists. But, it seems the Iranian diplomats do not believe in the idea of free access of information, preferring to give special briefings to domestic reporters only.
Yesterday, all reporters outside of Iran were excluded from an on-the-record talk by deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi, who is leading the negotiations. That met with howls of protests from other reporters. Last night, just before midnight, Araghchi gave a second briefing, again for Iranians-only.
An Iranian diplomat said the country’s journalists need special help and that is why they get special briefings.
Ironically, when given the chance, Iranian journalists tweet the briefings or update their Facebook pages with the latest developments.
For the first time in more than eight years, two journalists from reformist newspapers are included as part of the official delegation to the P5+1 talks, which includes 31 journalists.
The two newspapers, Shargh and Bahar, are seen as the foremost reformist newspapers in Iran and have endured periods in which they were banned. During President Mohammad Khatami’s rule, reformist newspapers often accompanied the president and other officials on foreign trips. This practice stopped after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won in 2005, when reformists newspapers were excluded from such trips.
One journalist, Mojtaba Fathi, who works for Bahar, has started tweeting from the official Iranian briefings and his observations of the trip. So far, he has fired off 34 tweets, and his followers have jumped tenfold in the past two days.
You can follow his Persian tweets at @mmfathi1:
— Mojtaba Fathi (@mmfathi1) October 16, 2013
Translation: “The second round of nuclear talks between Iran and P5+1 will start in Geneva with Ashton and Zarif.”
Other tweeters are watching, too:
Nuclear accord will affect Iran’s ties with all nations: Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said a … http://t.co/ZpLHfOJvfw
— debka (@debka) October 16, 2013
We will present our views, as agreed, in Geneva, not before. No Rush, No Speculations Please (of course if you can help it!!!)
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) October 11, 2013