Iran’s Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei says the Russian journalist held in Iran was detained last week for a visa violation and not for spying.
Speaking in a press conference on Monday, Rabiei said Yulia Yuzik’s case was undergoing a “quick review” by the Iranian authorities.
“Her case was a matter of visa violation and it was not related to espionage … Yuzik’s case is under quick review by Iranian authorities,” said Rabiei.
Iran had earlier announced that it would soon release the Russian journalist.
“Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov summoned Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Sanaei to the Russian Foreign Ministry on October 4 to demand clarification on the circumstances for the detention of Russian citizen Yuzik in Tehran. Sanaei confirmed that Yuzik had been detained by law enforcement agencies to give explanations on a number of issues, and will soon be released,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry had summoned the Iranian ambassador on Friday over Yuzik’s detention and the Kremlin said on Monday it hoped Yuzik would be released soon.
“We view negatively detentions of Russian journalists and consider them unacceptable. We hope that in the very near future she will be released and the Russian side will get the necessary explanations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
In a brief phone conversation with her mother late on Thursday, Yuzik claimed security forces had broken into her hotel room and detained her on suspicion of having ties to Israeli intelligence services, her ex-husband Boris Voitsekhovsky said.
Voitsekhovsky said Yuzik did not hold joint Israeli citizenship or a visa for the regime and last visited Israel about 15 or 17 years ago to report on the Israeli army’s daily life for Russia’s “Komsomolskaya Pravda” newspaper.