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Tue 15 May 2007 01:26 AM

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Al Jazeera thrown out of press conference

TV crew is ordered from Ahmadinejad press conference by Iranian officials.

An Al Jazeera television crew was thrown out of a press conference held by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday.

Al Jazeera correspondent Mohammad Abdullah told Gulf News the team was ordered to leave the hall in Emirates Palace Hotel by Iranian officials before the conference began.

According to Abdullah, a request to cover the conference was initially rejected by Iranian officials. However, ‘the UAE National Media Council negotiated with the Iranian side, and provided us with technical and administrative facilities to allow Al Jazeera to cover the conference’ he said.

However, Ibrahim Al Abed, Director General of the National Media Council, claimed that the body did not intervene to try to allow Al Jazeera access to the event. 'It was an Iranian event - they chose which news they had. There was no [official] UAE presence there,' he told ArabianBusiness.com.

Al Jazeera was banned from Iran’s parliament last week after it broadcast a talk show deemed insulting to Iraq’s highest religious authority Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani.

It said it regretted Iran’s decision, and hoped it would not lead to a complete ban on its activities in the country, stressing its policy of ‘respecting religious and public figures.’

Abdullah said no similar incidents had ever happened in the UAE, and that the channel was allowed to cover a press conference held by Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council last year.

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