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Ganji says remarks "distorted" -- agency

TEHRAN, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji, in prison after being convicted on dissent charges, has said remarks he made to Reuters and two Western newspapers were "distorted," his brother told the official IRNA news agency on Friday.

IRNA quoted Asghar Ganji as saying his brother's prison interview, carried out earlier this week in writing through an intermediary, was misrepresented.

"The things published quoting Akbar Ganji in a number of foreign publications have been denied," IRNA said.

"Asghar Ganji has said the material published by the Guardian, the International Herald Tribune and Reuters quoting his brother Akbar Ganji, the imprisoned journalist, have been distorted."

IRNA did not cite specific parts of the interview, in which Ganji warned of political turmoil if conservatives did not relax their pressure.

Reuters and the two newspapers, which submitted the questions in writing, checked the full translation with the intermediary prior to publication. He replied by approving the translation.

The intermediary, a family member of one of Ganji's cellmates, said on Friday that Ganji was under mounting pressure from hardliners after granting the interview and wanted to renounce it in time for Saturday's Iranian newspapers.

The conservative press attacked the interview, Ganji's first since his conviction on charges stemming from his part in an international conference in Berlin, setting off panic among Ganji's friends and family.

"The Ganji family is afraid of what the newspapers are going to say on Saturday," said the intermediary, who asked not to be identified.

Ganji, a veteran revolutionary, first angered the establishment with revelations in the press of what he claimed was high-level complicity in the murders of secular dissidents. The charges have been strenuously denied.

His reports won him a wide following and produced best- selling compilations, but his fame could not protect him from legal action by the conservative-led judiciary.

Earlier this month he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with five more in exile, for undermining national security and related crimes. Other charges are still pending.


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