New Zealand Travel Bloggers Allowed to Leave Iran

New Zealand Travel Bloggers Allowed to Leave Iran

SYDNEY, LELEMUKU.COM — Officials in New Zealand have insisted no deal was struck to get two of its citizens out of Iran. Few details are being given about the case of a New Zealand couple, who were documenting their travels in Iran on social media.

Earlier this year, New Zealanders Topher Richwhite, the son of one of New Zealand's richest men, and his wife Bridget Thackwray, visited Iran against official advice from the government in Wellington.

It has urged its citizens to avoid Iran, where the death of Mahsa Amini prompted protests and civil unrest.

The 22-year-old died in custody last month after being arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly ignoring strict rules on head coverings.

New Zealand officials have said Richwhite’s and Thackwray’s movements were restricted by Iranian authorities and they have only been allowed to leave with the help of the Wellington government.

Government officials insist no deal was struck to allow the pair to leave.

New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta told Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint program that negotiations with Iran were complex and delicate.

“As you can imagine and people only need to look at what is happening over there it is a challenge (sic) space. We recently put out an updated travel advisory because of what we are seeing over in Iran regarding increased protests. We're not advising New Zealanders to go there and that's part of the context and environment that we've been working under,” said Mahuta.

Richwhite and Thackwray were documenting their global travels on Instagram under the name Expedition Earth.

It is unclear if they were detained or even charged in Iran. Iranian officials had reportedly told the couple they had not been detained or arrested.

New Zealand said the couple’s predicament did not stop it from condemning the death of Mahsa Amini and calling for an independent investigation.

Wellington’s advice to citizens about travel to Iran is unequivocal. It has warned New Zealanders “not travel to Iran due to the potential for violent civil unrest, the risk of arrest or detention and the volatile security situation in the region.” (Phil Mercer | VOA)

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