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Conservative reappointed head of Iranian state radio, television

TEHRAN, May 26 (AFP) - Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday reappointed the conservative head of state radio and television to another five-year term and called for renewed commitment to the ideological struggle.

Ali Larijani, 43, who served as minister of culture and Islamic guidance from 1992 to 1994, was reappointed as director of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the official IRNA news agency said.

Khamanei, in a decree announcing the appointment, called on state radio and television to "protect the country against cultural and media attacks."

Programmes must "guide the youth towards healthy and sound behaviour and thought and increase their knowledge and commitment to religion, order and friendship," the supreme leader and spiritual guide said.

The IRIB has expanded its programming during the past few years to include entertainment, foreign series and political debate, but has been accused of favoring conservative officials and opinions, particularly during elections.

Larijani, a layman with a degree in mathematics and philosophy, is the son of a senior cleric and a regular target of criticism from the reformist wing of the Iranian regime.

He became IRIB director in 1994, replacing the brother of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani, who resigned following a political campaign against his management.

As culture minister, Larijani replaced now-President Mohammad Khatami, who resigned from the ministry amid a vast campaign by conservatives against his efforts to bring about a cultural opening of the country.


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