Iran General NewsIran bans weekly critical of Ahmadinejad

Iran bans weekly critical of Ahmadinejad

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ImageAFP: The Iranian press watchdog has banned popular moderate weekly, Shahrvand Emrouz, which has been critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the magazine's lawyer told AFP on Thursday.

ImageTEHRAN (AFP) — The Iranian press watchdog has banned popular moderate weekly, Shahrvand Emrouz, which has been critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the magazine's lawyer told AFP on Thursday.

"Unfortunately Shahrvand has been banned although we have not been officially notified yet," lawyer Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabai said.

He said the closure had been ordered "under the pretext that the magazine is licensed as a cultural and social publication so it cannot have political material."

Since hitting stands in March 2007, Shahrvand Emrouz has covered current Iranian and international politics and cultural issues in its 70 editions.

It featured articles by economists critical of Ahmadinejad's policies as well as regular interviews with veteran revolutionary figures and clerics plus the memoirs of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Fars news agency, which is close to conservatives, said Shahrvand had been banned for an "unreal portrayal of some government measures."

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei on Wednesday criticised Iranian press saying "this careless atmosphere of talking against the government is not to be easily forgiven by God."

Khamenei's comments came a day after the parliament ousted interior minister Ali Kordan for "dishonesty" and presenting a fake degree from Oxford University.

The scandal has been the focus of Iranian press over the past months, and the subsequent impeachment, pursued by mainly conservative MPs, was seen as a defeat for Ahmadinejad who had defended Kordan throughout the controversy.

In its latest editorial Sunday, Shahrvand Emrouz described as a secularist move Ahmadinejad's efforts to keep Kordan in the post despite his lying.

It said Kordan should remain in the job "to show how the most conservative government in the Islamic republic has desacralised all its religious and political concepts such as the clergy, honesty, fighting the West and Zionism."

"How open secularism has turned into veiled secularism," chief editor Mohammad Ghoochani wrote.

Under Ahmadinejad, Iranian media including newspapers, news websites and agencies of all political persuasions, have been hit by a string of closures.

Shahrvand was launched by the directors of leading daily Shargh which was shut down in August 2006 for interviewing a lesbian expat poet.

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