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April 28

Rafsanjani slams Iran's liberal media

April 28, (BBC) -- Iran's former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has defended a crackdown on pro-reform newspapers, saying they undermined Islam and served Iran's enemies. The comments come after an escalated conservative campaign against the liberal press which has seen the closure of virtually all its newspapers and magazines >>> FULL TEXT

April 27

Judiciary shuts last two reformist papers

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's hard-line judiciary shut down the last two major national newspapers from the reformist camp Thursday, bringing to 16 the number of publications banned this week. The two newspapers, including a leading daily published by a brother of President Mohammad Khatami, were the last hit in a wave of closures that began Sunday >>> FULL TEXT

Khamenei endorses media crackdown

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's supreme leader on Wednesday endorsed the recent crackdown on reformist newspapers, describing the publications as ``deviant'' and urging his supporters not to remain silent. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned what he called ``a deviant media movement that is trying to shape public opinion and turn it against Islam, the revolution and the Islamic Republic.'' >>> FULL TEXT

Iran frees eight accused of serial killings

TEHRAN, April 27 (AFP) - Iran Wednesday freed eight of the 22 people accused of serial killings of opponents of the regime and intellectuals in late 1998 on "clear proof" they were not guilty, the justice department said. The reason the case has gone so slowly up to present is precisely because of the charges against the eight were baseless, the department said in a statement quoted by the official IRNA news agency >>> FULL TEXT

Student protests grow at press closures

TEHRAN, April 27 (AFP) - Students held their biggest protest yet late Wednesday at the closure of pro-reform newspapers by Iran's conservative press court, press reports said Thursday. The daily Bayan, one of the few pro-reform dailies to escape suspension, said 5,000 students demonstrated peacefully at Ahvaz University in the south of the country in support of reformist President Mohammad Khatami >>> FULL TEXT

New ban on papers fuels Iran crisis

TEHRAN, April 27 (AFP) - Iran's conservative judiciary stoked up tension again Thursday by ordering the closure of the two most important reformist newspapers, including that of President Mohammad Khatami's brother. The move, reported by the official news agency IRNA, on top of previous suspensions left the reformist camp without a voice for the second round of the parliamentary elections on May 5 >>> FULL TEXT

Four coups against the press

April 27, Ham-Mihan -- A look at the struggle between the press and the government in nearly a century >>> FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN

April 26

Reformers Say Iran's Hard-Liners Plan Revolt

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's reformers say they have learned of a ``master plan'' by hard-liners in the security forces and their allies to crush the movement for change and even topple the government of moderate President Mohammad Khatami. They say some elements of the elite Revolutionary Guards, the police and the state broadcast monopoly have formed a ''crisis committee'' to fan social, political and religious tensions and pave the way for a possible coup d'etat >>> FULL TEXT

Students across Iran protest press bans

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Students at Tehran's technical university said on Wednesday they had suspended classes for the day, as peaceful protests spread against the banning of 13 pro-reform publications spread across the country. Hundreds of students at the University of Science and Technology rallied inside the enclosed campus, chanting slogans, clapping and stamping their feet in unison >>> FULL TEXT

Iran pro-democracy newspaper warned

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A court representing Iran's hard-line clergy has sent a warning to the president's brother to rein in his pro-democracy newspaper or face sanction, state radio reported today. Saeed Mortazavi, a judge of the Press Court, notified Mohammad Reza Khatami by letter Tuesday that his Mosharekat daily newspaper had broken press laws by publishing additional copies in recent days, the radio said >>> FULL TEXT

Pro-reform cleric rejects charges against him

PARIS, April 26 (AFP) - Iranian pro-reform cleric Hassan Yussefi Eshkevari rejected Tuesday charges brought against him by hardline Tehran clerics and described the accusations as "strange and incredible". Iran's Special Court for Clergy issued an arrest warrant against Eshkevari for having attended a controversial seminar in Berlin on April 7 and 8, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported earlier Tuesday >>> FULL TEXT

April 25

Protests mount at closure of pro-reform press

TEHRAN, April 25 (AFP) - Anger at a crackdown on the pro-reformist press spilled on to the streets of Tehran for the first time Tuesday as students staged demonstrations in favour of freedom of expression. Meanwhile the conservative-dominated courts kept up their offensive against the allies of President Mohammad Khatami, levelling serious charges against a cleric who attended a controversial seminar in Berlin >>> FULL TEXT

Iran waives ban on daily, protests mount

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's hardline judiciary lifted a ban on a popular pro-reform daily, allowing it to appear on newsstands Tuesday, but 13 other publications remained closed. Sobh-e Emrouz newspaper, whose publisher Saeed Hajjarian was gravely wounded in an assassination bid last month, was ordered closed late Monday afternoon, journalists told Reuters >>> FULL TEXT

Trial of Hajarian attack suspects open

TEHRAN, April 25 (AFP) - The trial of 10 defendants accused of planning the assassination of leading Iranian reformist Said Hajarian last month opened here Tuesday amid extreme political tension in the country. Despite a statement by the judiciary last week that the hearings would be in open court the foreign press was banned from the tribunal, with only local journalists being admitted >>> FULL TEXT

Arrest warrant issued for Ashkevari

TEHRAN, April 25 (Reuters) - Iran's hardline clerical court has issued an arrest warrant for an outspoken cleric who took part in a seminar in Berlin on the reform movement, the official IRNA news agency said on Tuesday. It quoted prosecutor Mohammad Ebrahim Nekounam of the Special Court for Clergy as saying Hasan Yousefi-Ashkevari would be arrested on his return to Iran >>> FULL TEXT

April 24

Iran bans 14 pro-reform publications

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's hard-line judiciary has suspended 14 pro-reform publications in the biggest blow yet to press freedoms championed by President Mohammad Khatami. The state news agency IRNA said early Monday eight dailies were among 12 publications banned without trial by the Tehran justice department for printing material that ``disparaged Islam and the religious elements of the Islamic revolution.'' >>> FULL TEXT

U.S. condemns pro-reform media closings in Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Monday condemned Iran's hardline judiciary for closing 14 pro-reform publications, saying the move was a ``blow to the Iranian people.'' State Department spokesman James Rubin told a regular news briefing: ``These actions are a blow to the people of Iran, which have clearly expressed their desire for openness and this kind of freedom in successive elections.'' >>> FULL TEXT

Khatami appeals for calm after press suspensions

TEHRAN, April 24 (AFP) - President Mohammad Khatami appealed for "calm and solidarity" on Monday, a few hours after Iran's press court suspended publication of eight daily newspapers politically close to the reformist Khatami. "Iran today, more than ever, needs calm and solidairty to achieve our aims. Today, we need tranquility, especially at the start of a new Majlis (parliament)," he said at military parade commemorating the Iranian army and the 20th anniversary of a failed attempt to free US embassy hostages then held in the eastern city of Tabas >>> FULL TEXT

April 23

Iran jails another publisher

TEHRAN, April 23 (Reuters) - The publisher of a banned newspaper was jailed on Sunday when Iran's Supreme Court rejected his final appeal, the official IRNA news agency said, in a continuing clampdown on the liberal press. Latif Safari had been sentenced to 30 months imprisonment by the hardline press court for offences including insulting religious sanctities -- the most common charge brought against pro-reform journalists in Iran >>> FULL TEXT

April 21

Mohajerani summons newspaper chiefs for meeting

TEHRAN, April 21 (AFP) - Iran's culture minister called for a Saturday meeting of Iranian newspaper chiefs amid mounting pressure on the pro-reform press, the official IRNA news agency said. Ataollah Mohajerani, a close ally of President Mohammad Khatami, called for the meeting following strong criticisms of the reformist press by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday >>> FULL TEXT

Iran rejects US remarks about freedom of the press

TEHRAN, April 21 (AFP) - Iran rejects remarks made by the US State Department expressing "concern" about attacks on the press by the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the official IRNA news agency reported Friday. Iran rejects the comments by the State Department, and regards them as "flagrant interference in Iran's internal affairs," said foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi, quoted by IRNA >>> FULL TEXT

April 20

Khamanei attacks reformist press

TEHRAN, April 20 (AFP) - Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei flayed pro-reform newspapers and a hardline court summoned Khatami aides for questioning, accusing them of making anti-Islamic statements at a recent conference in Berlin. The elite Revolutionary Guards, directly controlled by Khamenei, meanwhile called for nationwide demonstrations Friday to show "hatred and repugnance" at "the blows dealt to Islam and the people" at the gathering >>> FULL TEXT

Reformists battered from all sides as Iran political tensions mount

TEHRAN, April 20 (AFP) - Supporters of Iran's reformist President Mohammad Khatami came under increasingly heavy attack Thursday as political tensions mounted in the country. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei flayed pro-reform newspapers and a hardline court summoned Khatami aides for questioning, accusing them of making anti-Islamic statements at a recent conference in Berlin >>> FULL TEXT

April 19

Khazali urges reformers' deaths

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A hard-line cleric urged his followers to kill pro-reform writers and activists whom he says are undermining Iran's revolutionary principles, a newspaper reported today. ``It is an obligation to launch jihad (holy war) once every year, just as it is an obligation to fast one month a year. If the enemy does not attack you, you should attack them,'' said Khazali, a former member of the hard-line Guardians Council and a senior cleric at the holy city of Qom >>> FULL TEXT

Internet to be freed up in Iran

TEHRAN, April 19 (AFP) - Iran is preparing to open up access to the Internet to everyone in the country, Iranian state radio reported Wednesday. "Steps have been taken so that the entire population can use Internet services around the country," the radio quoted a telecommunications ministry official as saying >>> FULL TEXT

April 18

* Iran Claims Confession of Suspect

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - The main suspect in the attempted assassination of a leading Iranian reformist has confessed to his crime, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported Tuesday. ``I talked to the accused myself and he explicitly confessed to having committed the crime and said he would repeat his confession in court,'' the agency quoted deputy head of the judiciary, Hadi Marvi, as saying >>> FULL TEXT

April 17

Iran approves new measures to rein in press

TEHRAN, April 17 (Reuters) - Iran's conservative outgoing parliament passed new measures on Monday to rein in the liberal press, whose influence is increasing in the Islamic country. The new measures, part of a series of amendments to the press law, came as Iran's electoral watchdog nullified parliamentary poll results in several regions, drawing criticism from reformers >>> FULL TEXT

Revolutionary guards threaten reformers

TEHRAN, Iran ­­ An elite military wing in Iran warned pro-reform leaders and writers Sunday that any attempt to undermine the country's Islamic ideology would be met with "Islamic violence." The strongly worded statement by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps conforms to an increasingly strident tone taken by hard-liners against reformists who swept parliamentary elections in February >>> FULL TEXT >>> FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN

Hardline revolutionary courts chief replaced

TEHRAN, April 17 (Reuters) - Iran's judiciary chief Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi has removed a renowned hardliner from the head of the country's feared Revolutionary Courts, the official IRNA news agency said on Monday. Ali Mobasheri, a former judge at Tehran's Court of Appeals, has been named the new chief judge of the Revolutionary Courts, the agency said >>> FULL TEXT

April 14

Khamenei defends "legal violence" to maintain order

TEHRAN, April 14 (AFP) - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday defended "legal violence" to keep order in the Islamic republic after riots erupted following the reversal of election results. >>> FULL TEXT

April 12

Losers haven't learned their lesson

April 12, 2000 (Asr-e Azadegan) -- Political columnist Massound Behnoud looks at the history of imprisoning writers and journalists in Iran and points out the significance of the latest one: the imprisonment of Asr-e Azadegan's editor, Mashallah Shamsolvaezin >>> FULL TEXT IN PERSIAN

Journalists demonstrate in Iran

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Apr. 12 -- Journalists protested Wednesday against the jailing of a leading liberal newspaper's editor-in-chief on charges of insulting Islam, while some 400 people demonstrated against the annulment of reformists' election victories in their towns by a hard-line body >>> FULL TEXT

April 11

Parliament passes tough press measures

TEHRAN, April 11 (AFP) - Iran's outgoing conservative parliament on Tuesday approved parts of a tough new press law whose first reading last year helped spark student protests that erupted into six days of bloody riots. The parliament, which will step down in a few weeks to make way for a reform-dominated legislature that won in February's elections, is to debate the remaining points in the bill on Wednesday >>> FULL TEXT

April 10

Shamsolvaezin jailed

TEHRAN, April 10 (Reuters) - An Iranian editor who challenged the Islamic law of retribution was jailed on Monday after losing an appeal against a 30-month sentence imposed for criticising capital punishment. Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, a leading reformist, was jailed for offending religious values after the appeal court upheld the sentence imposed by a hardline press court, his colleagues at Asr-e Azadegan newspaper told Reuters >>> FULL TEXT

April 9

Iran state news chief hauled into court

TEHRAN, April 9 (AFP) - The head of Iran's state IRNA news agency, hauled into court Sunday to answer a battery of complaints, said that a more free and open Iran would only come at a "heavy price." Fereydoun Verdinejad, summoned in his capacity as head of the governmental daily Iran, was appearing to answer complaints from a variety of sources, including the volunteer Basiji Islamic militia >>> FULL TEXT

April 8

Mohtashemi summoned to court

TEHRAN, April 8 (AFP) - A close ally of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami who has used his newspaper to launch harsh criticisms of conservatives in the regime has been summoned to appear in court, his paper said Saturday. Ali Akbar Mohtashemi has been ordered to appear before the Special Court of Clergy on April 23 following complaints filed by a cleric in the western city of Hamedan, the Bayan paper said without giving further details >>> FULL TEXT

April 6

Khatami urged to settle Iran police-judiciary row

TEHRAN, April 6 (Reuters) - The head of Iran's secret police urged President Mohammad Khatami to intervene to settle a row with the judiciary over the custody of suspects held for shooting a top reformer. Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi accused the judiciary of cutting short a high-profile inquiry by his services into last month's murder attempt against Saeed Hajjarian, a close ally of Khatami, by demanding custody of the suspects >>> FULL TEXT

April 5

Khatami's brother charged with libel

TEHRAN, April 5 (AFP) - Iranian reformist leader Mohammad-Reza Khatami, brother of President Mohammad Khatami, was formally charged with libel Wednesday in his capacity as head of the daily Mosharekat. Press court judge Said Mortazavi bailed him in the sum of 50 million rials (16,666 dollars at the official rate of exchange) pending trial, after four hours of questioning >>> FULL TEXT

Hajjarian attack suspects handed over to courts

TEHRAN, April 5 (AFP) - The man accused of accused of shooting Iranian reformist leader Said Hajarian and nine alleged accomplices have been handed over to the courts ahead of their trial later this month, state radio reported Tuesday. The trial of Said Asqar and the nine will take place before the end of the first month of the Iranian year -- April 20 -- spokesman Hussein Mir Mohammad Sadeghi said Monday, describing the suspects as "terrorists." >>> FULL TEXT

Hajjarian's party criticises rush trial of accused

TEHRAN, April 5 (AFP) - The party of shot Iranain reformist Said Hajarian claimed Wednesday that the trial of his alleged attackers was being rushed through to cover up those who were really guilty. The Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) said in a statement that Tuesday's handing over of the case to the hardline revolutionary courts was premature >>> FULL TEXT

Iran frees up ownership of videos

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's Supreme Court has ruled it is no longer a crime to possess videos or music cassettes that ``corrupt public ethics'' if they are for personal use, a further sign of expanding social freedoms in the Islamic nation. ``Possession of immodest pictures, video films, cassette tapes and the like is not considered an offense unless it is used to promote corruption and prostitution,'' Ahmad Darzi, a court official, said today. ``If it is for commercial or distribution purposes, then legal action will be taken.'' >>> FULL TEXT

April 3

Judge suing journalist for book on slayings of intellectuals

TEHRAN, April 3 (AFP) - An Iranian religious court judge is suing a pro-reform author who wrote that the judge was involved in a series of murders of intellectuals and opposition figures in 1998, the Ham Mihan newspaper said Monday. Author Hamid Reza Kaviani, who is also deputy editor of the pro-reform newspaper Asr-e-ma, was summoned to appear in court June 28 for his investigative book on the killings, Ham Mihan said >>> FULL TEXT

Press publish photos of Hajarian attack suspect

TEHRAN, April 3 (AFP) - The Iranian press published photos Monday of the man suspected of shooting reformist leader Said Hajarian on March 12, and of his six alleged accomplices. The men, who appear to be between 20 and 30 years old, are accused of attempted assassination by a "terrorist group", the press said, with Said Asfqar alleged to be the gunman who shot Hajarian >>> FULL TEXT

April 2

Iran state media sues president's brother

TEHRAN, April 2 (AFP) - Iran's conservative-run state media are among the plaintiffs who have filed suit againt Mohammad-Reza Khatami, the brother of the president and a top pro-reform politician, his lawyer said Sunday. Khatami -- who led reformists to a sweeping victory in February's parliamentary elections, ending the longstanding conservative majority in the legislature -- was summoned Thursday to appear in press court on libel and defamation charges >>> FULL TEXT

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