Iran Arrests Russian Journalist Reportedly Suspected of Spying for Israel

Russian embassy confirms Yulia Yuzik in custody, but said still studying details of case

Yulia Yuzik.
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The Russian embassy in Tehran says that a Russian journalist has been detained in the Iranian capital.

The embassy on Friday confirmed reports that Yulia Yuzik was in custody in Tehran but said it was still studying the details.

Yuzik’s former husband Boris Voitsekhovsky said on Facebook on Friday that the journalist had been in Iran for four days and that she called him from detention saying that she faces charges of espionage for Israel.

Interfax, a Russian news agency, quoted the Russian embassy in Iran as saying that also according to her mother, Yuzik has been charged with working for Israeli security services. 

Voitsekhovsky wrote in his post that Yuzik worked in Iran as a correspondent in the past and was travelling there after receiving an unspecified invitation. She was given a chance to make a short phone call to Russia on Thursday night, he said, adding that she was sitting on floor in her cell unable to connect to the outside world.

“They took her passport on arrival in Tehran and told her they’ll give it back on her departure,” Voitsekhovskiy said speaking to the RBC news website on Friday.

“The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps broke into her hotel room yesterday and accused her of cooperating with Israeli security services,” he added.

Yuzik, who worked for several prominent Russian publications and has reported from Iran, posted pictures from her trip on Instagram earlier this week, saying that she loved being there.

The Russian foreign ministry has summoned the Iranian ambassador to Moscow to explain Yuzik’s arrest, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. According to Interfax, however, Iranian authorities have not yet officially notified the Russian embassy in Tehran of the incident.

Officials in Iran had no immediate comment.

Reuters contributed to this report.