An Iranian-Canadian journalist who was detained in Tehran during post-election protests has been charged with belonging to a Western-orchestrated conspiracy to overthrow the clerical regime, according to Iranian media.
Maziar Bahari has a home in Toronto but has lived in Iran for more than a decade, and worked for Newsweek magazine.
He is one of more than two dozen journalists and bloggers seized in a sweep of suspected opponents of the government, which has been battling protests since it endorsed elections last month widely criticized as fraudulent.
"The spokesperson for the Iranian foreign affairs ministry said that Bahari was part of a network of U.S. and British-led unrest," said Morteza Abdolalian, an Iranian-born journalist and blogger who monitors the Iranian media. "They charged him with working for this network, following his arrest."
There have been unconfirmed reports that Bahari "confessed" during his detention.
"These arrests follow a pattern," says Abdolalian, who is based in Toronto.
"People are pressured to make a videotaped confession that is written in advance by the regime."
Canada's department of foreign affairs has issued a note of "grave concern" to Iran, and demanded immediate consular access to Bahari. But such access is seldom granted in the case of dual citizens, whom Iran regards as Iranian.
Foreign and Iranian journalists have long been suspected of working for a Western conspiracy to overthrow the Iranian government – a legacy of a Western-orchestrated 1953 coup.
Supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have denounced the protesters as traitors.
commentary by the ottawa mens centre
Mr. Harper apparently never did have any motivation to defend the rights of Canadian citizens abroad or at home. Mr. Harper's view of legal rights are that they are only important as long as they are politically correct, a furthering of the judge made law or politically realities that flagrantly defy the statutes. Its just more destruction of the Rule of Law for short term political point scoring for which Mr. Harper is strongly addicted. see the roscoe research at the ottwawa mens centre.
The Mr. Mohammadi clan of the Iranian Government must have gone stark raving mad to arrest Maziar Bahari who has made public to the world press the American goals of u promoting "democracy" in Islamic countries. The Iranian Government is becoming increasingly paranoid to the point that they are now shooting themselves in the foot. Iranians are some of nicest people you can meet anywhere in the world. The Iranian Government's arrest of one of most respected objective journalists will not help Iran's problems.