U.S. State Department Spokesperson Alan Eyre gave an exclusive interview on Monday to Iran’s state-controlled Fars News Agency, according to the Tehran-based outlet.
While some refer to Fars News as a “semi-official” agency, the news outlet reports out of Iran, which remains entirely without a free press. Regime officials are responsible for handpicking which media outlets are allowed to report from within the country. Fars is reportedly affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), a military force that is tasked with exporting a radical interpretation of Shia Islam across the globe.
In the interview, titled by the Iranian outlet “US Spokesman Shrugs Off Responsibility For Riyadh’s Cluster Bombs In Yemen,” the discussion centered around the ongoing conflict in Yemen, where the U.S. is backing the Saudi-led coalition against Iran-backed Shiite Houthi insurgents.
At the end of the interview, Eyre told the interviewer to “please stop raising” conspiracies about the U.S. allegedly attempting to install a “puppet regime” in Yemen to assert U.S. dominance over the region.
The Q & A was prefaced by a heavily editorialized write-up.
“He said Riyadh was allowed to defend its Southern borders because it perceived a threat, implying that the Saudis were entitled to the right to preempt the Yemeni revolutionary forces!!!,” remarked the unnamed interviewer prior to revealing the full text of the interview.
The Fars News “reporter” insisted the State Dept spokesperson evaded “critical questions about [the U.S.] support” of the Saudi-led effort to restore the internationally-recognized government of Yemen.
But it may be particularly concerning that Eyre– a high-ranking official in the United States government– gave exclusive commentary to Fars News in the first place, given Iran’s atrocious record when it comes to recognizing a free press.
Iran ranks 173 out of 180 countries when it comes to promoting a free press, according to the 2014 World Press Freedom Index conducted by Reporters Without Borders.
In the 2014 Freedom House Press Freedom rankings, Iran comes in at 190 out of 197 countries in measuring freedom of the press.