KUWAIT CITY, Oct 8: Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent and part of the group of journalists accompanying Britain’s foreign secretary on a Middle East tour, said on Tuesday the Iranian authorities have refused to give her an entry visa.

“I am very disappointed,” Amanpour, who is of Iranian origin, told fellow journalists on the plane taking Foreign Secretary Jack Straw from Amman to Kuwait City.

The Iranian government gave no reason, but Tehran authorities were critical of her report on Iran’s youth broadcast by CNN in Feb 2000. Since then, she has not returned to Tehran.

“This is a puzzling decision,” said Straw.

“It is hard to see that it is in Iran’s interest. I have already raised this issue with Foreign Minister (Kamal) Kharazi. And I will continue to pursue the matter. Freedom of the press is a fundamental principle.”

Straw is to travel on Wednesday to Iran, where he will meet President Mohammad Khatami among other officials.

In June 2000, Iranian authorities said unspecified steps were being taken against the US television networks CNN and CBS for breaking rules in their coverage of Iran.—AFP

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