The US on Friday denounced Iranian leaders for reportedly blocking the burial of a journalist's body, saying Tehran showed a fear of journalists even posthumously.
Reza Haghighatnejad, who worked in exile for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Radio Farda, a US-funded Farsi-language broadcaster, died on October 17 at a Berlin hospital from cancer, the outlet said.
Quoting his family, Radio Farda said that agents from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp seized the 45-year-old's body on its return to Iran to prevent a burial in his home city of Shiraz.
“We are disgusted to learn that the IRGC seized Reza's remains at the airport and are pressuring the family to agree to have his body buried elsewhere,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
He called on Iranian authorities to release his body “immediately” to his family and said the episode showed the extent of intimidation of the press.
“The treatment of Reza Haghighatnejad underscores just how much Iran's leadership fears journalists even after their death,” he said.
The incident comes as Iran cracks down on nationwide protests that erupted after the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the religious state's notorious morality police.