Practical info for foreign journalists

To travel to Iran as a journalist (from printed newspapers, TV, radio or any other kind of media) one has to ask for a press visa at the Iranian Embassy in his or her country. Since there are no diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States, journalists in the USA must refer to the Iranian Interests Section of the Pakistani Embassy. The release of the visa has to be approved from Tehran, and it may take some weeks to have an answer. The visa can be denied without specified reasons, above all when the requesting reporter is known for previous stories critical of the regime. Normally the press visa lasts ten days. Once in Iran, it is possible to ask for an extension, but it can be denied, especially during politically sensitive periods. This is what happened to all foreign reporters that had entered Iran to cover the presidential elections of 2009. When the demonstrations against the reelection of Ahmadinejad started, in the following days, no visa was extended and all foreign journalists had to leave the country one by one. Only foreign journalists permanently based in Iran, holding a residence permit, were allowed to stay and continue with their work.

When the journalist has received the visa, he must get in contact with one of the four organisations authorised by the Department for the Foreign Press at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to provide a fixer. The journalist has to coordinate with them in order to organise his visit.

These are the four organisations and their email addresses:

Upon arrival in Iran, the foreign journalist has to go to the Department for Foreign Press to receive a press accreditation. The address is: No. 15, Eighth St., Qaem-Magham Farahani Street, Tehran. Telephone numbers: (0098) 21 88751754 or (0098) 21 8409500.  

The journalist has to provide full details of his itineraries and of the stories he wants to write. The journalists that don’t stick to the program previously agreed may find themselves in trouble, especially if they use a TV camera or are seen taking photographs. Interventions of authorities of other ministries, and above all of the security services, are always possible. It is forbidden to cover any ‘illegal’ event, that is, gatherings and demonstrations of dissident and opposition groups. In these cases foreign journalists and TV crews are at high risks of being arrested and getting their videos confiscated.