- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday denied Iranian state media accusations that one of the newspaper’s senior reporters of conspiring against Iran’s government.

Stories linking reporter Farnaz Fassihi - a former correspondent in Iran who’s currently based in New York - with the opposition movement “are completely false, outlandish and irresponsible,” the newspaper said in a statement.

The accusations have circulated in conservative media outlets in the Islamic Republic in recent days, including the daily newspaper Kayhan. The editor of Kayhan, Hossein Shariatmadari, is viewed as a representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Journal said allegations appear to stem from an Aug. 9 Forbes opinion piece that references a “Wall Street friend” of New York Sen. Charles Schumer who acted as a liaison between Iranian protesters and the U.S. government. Some media outlets in Iran “incorrectly and illogically” concluded the “Wall Street friend” reference meant The Wall Street Journal, it said.

“These same media outlets have also suggested that The Wall Street Journal is part of a conspiracy against Iran,” the statement said. “These are transparently false allegations.”

It was the second time in the last year that Iran and a U.S. newspaper have impugned an American foreign correspondent.

The Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief, Jason Rezaian, has been imprisoned in Iran for more than a year on espionage and other charges. The newspaper, the U.S. government and major journalist and press freedom organizations worldwide have denounced the case and called for Rezaian’s release.

Fassihi, who is of Iranian descent, was based in the Middle East from 2003 to 2014. She covered the presidential elections in Iran in 2009 and the crackdown on the opposition Green Movement that year.


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