An agent brutalized and broke the finger of a female journalist after she refused to delete interviews she had conducted with personnel at a vaccination center in Tehran yesterday. According to the state-run Etemad Online website, the journalist was identified as Faezeh Momeni. Faezeh was working on a report on vaccination procedures when she was beaten by a Protection Agency agent from the Beheshti Medical Sciences University on her way out of the vaccination center.
The agent initially asked her to delete all the interviews, but upon her refusal, he attacked her, breaking her finger. Faezeh was taken to the hospital for surgery.
The journalist posted images of her hand on her Instagram with a short account of the incident. In an interview with state-run media, Faezeh Momeni said she had acquired the necessary permits for the interviews.
The Protection Agency is affiliated with Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. These agents are tasked with carrying out the will of the regime in all government institutions and even universities. When COVID-19 initially broke out in the country in late January last year, the Protection Agency or “Harasat” in Farsi, prevented reports on the number of patients and deaths related to the virus from leaking out of hospitals.
There are many reports coming out of Iran of vaccine irregularities with some officials saying a large portion of vaccine doses are being sold on the black market for around $1,000.
Iran has yet to vaccinate the bulk of its population and just recently started vaccinating the elderly. According to the World Health Organization, a little over 350,000 people have been fully vaccinated in Iran.
The regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has banned the import of US and UK made vaccines.
Suppression of freedom of speech and civil liberties in Iran
Iran under the clerical regime is notorious for suppression of civil liberties, freedom of speech and internet censorship.
According to the Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Iran is included in the list of press freedom’s 20 worst digital predators in 2020, which include companies and government agencies that use digital technology to spy on and harass journalists and thereby jeopardize freedom of access to news and information.
Iran is also ranked 173rd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.
The Islamic regime exercises extensive control over the media landscape and its harassment of independent journalists, citizen-journalists and independent media has not let up.
They are constantly subjected to intimidation, arbitrary arrest and long jail sentences imposed by revolutionary courts at the end of unfair trials. The media that are still resisting increasingly lack the resources to report freely and independently.