An Iranian journalist who defected from his country while covering its ongoing nuclear talks has revealed startling information regarding America’s position at the negotiating table.
Amir Hossein Motaghi, who reportedly was employed at Iran’s state-run Iran Student Correspondents Association, told a London-based Iranian opposition channel that the U.S. was shilling for Iran in the ongoing negotiations over the regime’s nuclear weapons program.
“The US negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal,” Mottaghi told Irane Farda, according to UK’s The Telegraph.
Motaghi had previously worked on President Hassan Rouhani’s 2013 election campaign as his public relations manager, before moving over to working as a journalist in the tightly-censored country.
He is now seeking political asylum in Switzerland, after utilizing his opportunity to cover the talks in order to flee his home country.
The Telegraph reports that Motaghi was a friend of imprisoned Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who remains under detention without being charged of any crimes.
“My conscience would not allow me to carry out my profession anymore,” Motaghi said of his frustration working under the Iranian regime’s strict controls. He added that there was no “sense” in becoming a journalist in Iran because he only wrote whatever information was fed to him.
He explained to Irane Farda: “There are a number of people attending on the Iranian side at the negotiations who are said to be journalists reporting on the negotiations. But they are not journalists and their main job is to make sure that all the news fed back to Iran goes through their channels.”
Mottaghi told Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty that he is now fearful for his life. “I’d rather not talk very openly about this, to be honest I’m afraid,” he told the broadcasting organization.
“Some might say that [under Rohani] the number of newspapers that have been shut down and journalists who have lost their jobs has decreased. But in general conditions for journalists in our country deteriorate every day,” he added
The P5+1 world powers and Iran have until March 31 to reach a self-imposed basic framework for a nuclear accord.