AFP: A dissident Iranian journalist has been barred from leaving the Islamic republic after trying to fly to the Netherlands for a conference, the student news agency ISNA reported Sunday. AFP

TEHRAN - A dissident Iranian journalist has been barred from leaving the Islamic republic after trying to fly to the Netherlands for a conference, the student news agency ISNA reported Sunday.

"I was told at the airport that I am banned from leaving the country by a Revolutionary Court order," Isa Saharkhiz, a former culture ministry official and editor of the banned pro-reform monthly Aftab, was quoted as saying.

The Islamic republic's hardline judiciary has recently renewed its crackdown on reformist journalists, with the operation extending to contributors to Internet sites.

Last week the European Union lodged a formal protest with Iranian authorities over the arrest and harassment of journalists, staff of non-governmental organisations and members of religious minorities.

An EU statement listed six journalists or Internet writers arrested in a recent crackdown and who are still behind bars, seven who were detained and released, and four writers or activists who have received travel bans.

Of the six, Rouzbeh Mir-Ebrahimi -- a former editor of the foreign affairs section of "Etemad" and online journalist who was arrested on 27 September -- has since been released on bail pending trial, press reports said.

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