Maziar Bahari, 41, who has been locked up and unable to speak to a lawyer for more than a week, said at a dubious press conference yesterday that he sent biased reports as part of a Western media conspiracy to undermine the Iranian government.
“Western media saw their candidate and the movement it backed as losing and it created rumors of fraud to harm the legitimacy of the election,” Bahari was quoted as saying by the Iranian news agency. “As a reporter and a part of the West’s capitalistic engine, I was put on the path of creating rumors towards a colored revolution.”
Newsweek called the confession "preposterous," and demanded Bahari's release.
"Newsweek strongly disputes that charge, and defends Bahari's work," the magazine said on its website. "Maziar Bahari is a veteran journalist whose long career, both in print and in documentary film making, has been accurate, even-handed, and widely respected."
Iran accused the U.S, the U.K., along with western media, of inciting the violence following the June 12 election which ultimately saw President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reclaim his presidency. At least 20 people were killed and 1,000 arrested following the violent protests that charged Ahmadinejad had rigged the ballots, though the numbers could not be verified because the hardline regime did not allow reporting from Tehran.
Newsweek said Bahari was rousted from his sleep at 7 a.m. on June 21 at his home in Tehran, where he lives with his mother. Security officials and seized his laptop and several video tapes before taking him in.
CNN also reports that Hassiba Hadj-Sahraoui of Amnesty International rejected Bahari's reported confession, saying it was part of the Islamic Republic's efforts to scare the opposition and blame the west for the blood shed following the election.
"We know from people we've talked to that people have been forced to make confessions on TV where they are supposed to have acted on instigation of foreign powers," she said.
Bahari is not the only journalist in the region that has been arrested since the election. Reporters Without Boarders said that 28 journalists have been locked up.