NewsSpecial WireIran bans four dailies over election rigging charges

Iran bans four dailies over election rigging charges

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Jun. 20 – Four Iranian dailies were suspended today by Tehran’s Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor for carrying the text of a letter by defeated presidential hopeful Mehdi Karroubi to the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, charging that Friday’s first-round elections were rigged. Iran Focus

Tehran, Jun. 20 – Four Iranian dailies were suspended today by Tehran’s Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor for carrying the text of a letter by defeated presidential hopeful Mehdi Karroubi to the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, charging that Friday’s first-round elections were rigged.

The dailies Eqbal, Aftab-e Yazd, Hayat-e No, and Ettemad were all banned from publishing today, on the orders of Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi. It remains unclear how long the suspension with last.

The daily Eqbal is the paper of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, run by Mohammad Reza Khatami, the brother of outgoing President Mohammad Khatami.

Hayat-e No is owned by the Supreme Leader’s brother, Hadi Khamenei, who is one of Khatami’s key allies. Aftab-e Yazd belongs to Karroubi.

In his letter, Karroubi, a mid-ranking cleric, denounced the conditions under which the elections were held.

He asked the Supreme Leader to “give the order to prevent illegal intervention by a section of the Revolutionary Guards and prevent certain methods by the Guardians Council.”

Karroubi, who came in third in Friday’s presidential election, yesterday resigned his membership of the powerful State Expediency Council and stepped down as an adviser to the Supreme Leader in protest against rigging of the polls “by sections of the Revolutionary Guard and the [paramilitary”> Bassij”.

He also resigned as the secretary general of the Combatant Clergy Association of Tehran, a grouping of Shiite clerics who supported Khatami.

Former President Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani took first place in the first-round elections, though he did not have more than 50 percent of the total ballots needed to win the race.

The run-off will be held this coming Friday between the conservative cleric and ultra-conservative former Tehran mayor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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