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New reformist newspaper banned in Iran

TEHRAN, Aug 1 (Reuters) - An Iranian revolutionary court has banned a provincial reformist newspaper which had tried to shed light on alleged corruption and mismanagement in the Islamic republic, the former daily said in a fax on Tuesday.

Ruzdara, the only independent newspaper in Sistan- Baluchestan, a poverty-stricken province in southeastern Iran, was forced to stop publishing last Thursday by a court decree.

The daily was among dozens of independent newspapers that emerged throughout Iran under President Mohammad Khatami's cultural liberalisation policies, serving as the primary battleground between reformers and hardline conservatives.

But such publications have fallen victim to a conservative backlash which has seen more than 20 newspapers and journals closed and a number of editors jailed in recent months.

Ruzdara ran editorials recently, blaming past hardline policies for the country's economic and foreign policy misfortunes.

``As long as our rulers have not learned the rules of courteous dialogue, no country will deign to smile on us,'' it said.

``The current style of (economic) administration has led to sycophancy and no competent manager is willing to come forward under the present criteria,'' reads another excerpt.

Khatami has embarked on a drive to ease tension with the West and secure help to streamline Iran's economy.


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