Iran General NewsIran bans reformist daily for publishing opposition statement

Iran bans reformist daily for publishing opposition statement

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ImageReuters: Iran banned a pro-reform newspaper on Monday, the media reported, and a semi-official news agency said it was for publishing a statement by opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi. ImageTEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran banned a pro-reform newspaper on Monday, the media reported, and a semi-official news agency said it was for publishing a statement by opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi.

"Based on a decision by the press supervisory board the authorisation for the publication of Farhang-e Ashti daily has been annulled for repeatedly violating the press law," the students news agency ISNA reported, without giving further details.

The head of the newspaper's policy-making board Mohammad Mehdi Emami-Nasseri said the daily was banned for "publishing a part of a statement by Mirhossein Mousavi" earlier this month.

"The press supervisory board should send the case of any newspaper which has broken the law to judiciary sources. We will definitely follow up this issue through legal means," Emami-Nasseri told the semi-official Mehr news agency.

Farhang-e Ashti's closure came four days after an Iranian court banned a weekly for slander and spreading lies.

Iran has shut down a number of publications since its disputed June presidential election which has plunged the country into its most serious domestic turmoil in three decades.

Leading business daily Sarmayeh, critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economic policies, was banned in November.

In August, authorities closed down Etemad-e Melli newspaper of pro-reform cleric Mehdi Karoubi, who came fourth in the June poll.

The opposition says the election was rigged to secure Ahmadinejad's re-election but the authorities say the vote was the "healthiest" since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Eight people were killed in clashes between security forces and opposition supporters on Ashura, the day of ritual Shi'ite mourning that fell on Dec. 27.

Five of those detained during the December demonstrations went on trial on Monday on charges that may be punishable by the death penalty.

Thousands of people, including senior reformers, were detained after the poll for fomenting unrest. Most of them have since been freed, but more than 80 people have been jailed for up to 15 years and five have been sentenced to death.

(Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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