Tehran, Iran • Iran's Culture Ministry on Wednesday sharply criticized a conservative news website that offered Iranians a chance to pose questions to a Farsi-speaking spokesman for the U.S. State Department, who would then respond.
The alef.ir website posted a notice Tuesday saying readers could pose questions on the site and that U.S. State Department spokesman Alan Eyre would respond to them. It took down the post late Wednesday as authorities stepped up criticism.
Eyre speaks fluent Farsi and has become the new public face of the United States to many Iranians and Farsi speakers who are able to watch Farsi-language news outlets. Eyre has already conducted interviews with foreign-based media outlets such as the Farsi language programs of both the Voice of America and the BBC, but responding to alef.ir would have been the first ever contact with an Iran-based news website.