Former Tehran mayor gets approval for new paper
TEHRAN, March 15 (AFP) - The convicted former mayor of Tehran was given
the green light Monday by Iran's culture ministry to launch a new newspaper,
the official news agency IRNA said.
Gholamhossein Karbaschi was given approval to launch the Ham-Mihan
(Compatriot) paper despite onging efforts by opponents in the conservative-dominated
parliament to take away his control over the official paper of the Tehran
municipality, Hamshari (Citizen).
Conservative MPs have mounted a campaign in the last few weeks to take
the 400,000-circulation daily out of the hands of the municipality, effectively
ending Karbaschi's control over the paper.
Karbaschi was forced out of office last year and sentenced to five
years in prison, and a 20-year ban on holding public office, on corruption
charges that he insisted were a political set-up.
But as his successor has yet to be named, the municipal paper remains
under the control of the popular former mayor, whose sentence was reduced
to two years and a 10-year ban while his case is on appeal with Iran's
The spectacular trial of Karbaschi, a close political affiliate of
reformist President Mohammad Khatami, was widely seen among reformers and
moderates as a politically motivated attack by the regime's conservatives
The ban on holding office has not kept him from his duties as secretary
general of the reformist Executives of Construction Party (ECP).
Two ECP members were among the 15 pro-Khatami candidates who swept
all seats on the Tehran municipal council in last month's elections, the
first municipal elections in Iran since the 1979 revolution.