Vice Contributor Recalls Low Point of Undercover Iran Mission

The anonymous author is very lucky to have safely made it out of the country.

Vice 320Good article today on Vice, translated from Vice France.

Last summer, the anonymously bylined male reporter traveled to Iran on a tourist visa; he took all sorts of precautions before and during his visit. However, at one point after journeying north from Tehran to Tabriz with a photographer and handler, the trio were hauled away to a private room for interrogation while attending a soccer match. It was touch-and-go, all the way through:

In my stupidity, I still had two or three issues of Charlie Hebdo in my bag, thinking I would read them before leaving them somewhere on a plane. And I had printed a series of articles on de Pasdarans – also known as Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution – a branch of the Iranian army, who have been accused of smuggling alcohol into the country through a secret airport. On an insane impulse, I asked if I could be excused to use the toilets for a minute.

A few guards accompanied me to the doors of a set of filthy toilets. I rolled up my sleeves, tore up dozens of pages and buried the balls of paper as deep as possible in the shit heap that had accumulated in the toilet. It didn’t flush, of course. I washed my hands with a water pipe and got out 20 minutes later praying that nobody suspected anything. I was made to return to the interrogation room. A couple of hours later, our passports were given back to us, and we were free to go.

The reporter found out shortly thereafter from his colleagues that the interrogating agents planned to search the septic tank of the toilets. That night, he, the fixer and photographer were convinced they would be arrested any minute and hauled away for good. To find out what happened, read on.

The original article was published on Vice France Jan. 7.