December 4, 2022

Two New Zealanders detained in Iran in recent months have been allowed to leave the country, New Zealand’s Foreign and Trade Ministry said on Wednesday.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had previously said in a video streamed live on Facebook on Tuesday that the New Zealand government had been working very hard over the past few months to allow them to leave Iran.

“It’s fair to say there’s been an incredibly difficult situation over the past few months,” Ardern said.

Neither Ardern nor the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade would release details of the detained couple or where they were held.

The New Zealand Herald has reported that the two are social media influencers Topher Richwhite and Bridget Thackwray, who post under the moniker Expedition Earth.

The couple’s last post was 16 weeks ago from the Tas Yol passage in Turkey.

The New Zealand government also updated its travel warnings for Iran on Wednesday, urging New Zealanders currently living there to leave Iran.

A statement released with the update says New Zealand continues to call for restraint on the part of the authorities in responding to the demonstrations and for greater protection of women’s rights and freedom of expression.