Iran warns of Italy's 'Mafia-style' approach to N-issue
Press TV – March 6, 2010
The Association of Iranian Journalists and Reporters describes the arrest of TV correspondent Hamid Masoumi-Nejad in Italy as 'a Mafia-style tactic' to pressure Iran over its nuclear program.
Masoumi-Nejad, an accredited journalist working for the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting in Rome, was arrested on Wednesday on charges of smuggling weapons to Iran in defiance of international sanctions.
In statement released on Friday, Abbas Darvish-Tavangar, who heads the Association of Iranian Journalists and Reporters, said the arrest shows more than ever that the Mafia has infiltrated into the high ranks of the Italian government and justice department.
"Masoumi-Nejad's arrest was nothing but a Mafia-designed scenario, staged at the behest of Israel and the United States to prevent Iran from enriching uranium," said Darvish-Tavangar.
"In a recent meeting with Israeli leaders, Berlusconi promised to increase pressure on Tehran over its nuclear work. He even went so far as to promise that he wouldl do everything in his power to end Tehran's enrichment activities," he noted.
Speaking on behalf of all Iranian journalists, Darvish-Tavangar said the arrest was "purely political, utterly immoral, and in blatant violation of human rights."
Tavangar added Masoumi-Nejad was in fact arrested because of his hard-hitting coverage of the many scandals and corruption charges against Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
"His crime was to cover demonstrations, in which millions of Italians protested the policies of their government," he noted. "His crime was to expose the corrupt nature of the Berlusconi government to a greater extent."
"His crime was to reveal the racist mindset and xenophobic policies of Italian government and police officials towards more than 2.6 million immigrants in Italy, particularly the Muslim minority," he added.
Darvish-Tavangar described as "absurd" accusations of weapons-smuggling against Masoumi-Nejad and another Iranian national by the name of Homayoun Bakhtiyari, who was also arrested in Turin in northwestern Italy.
The association head explained that the allegations are in line with efforts to demonize Iranian media correspondents and government officials throughout the international community.
Last updated 08/03/2010