Report: Iran releases four journalists, professor

(CNN) -- Iran on Sunday released on bail four journalists and a retired professor whom it had held for two months, the semi-official Iran Labour News Agency reported.

The five prisoners had been held since they were arrested during a December 27 protest, according to ILNA.

The journalists are Abdolreza Tajik, Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, Behrang Tonkaboni and Mohammad Javad Mozafar, who is also a prisoners' rights activist, ILNA said. The news agency reported that the retired professor is Mohammad Sadeq Rabani.

Separately, ILNA reported that Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi said Sunday that "detainees of recent unrest will be released due to the upcoming Iranian new year," which falls on March 21.

At the same time, ILNA quoted Doulatabadi as saying that those arrested on the Muslim holy day of Ashura, when the five prisoners freed on bail Sunday were rounded up, could face stiff penalties later. "The judiciary will imply more strict policies, and those who were arrested on Ashura Day will be confronted heavily by the judiciary," he said.

Mozafar and Tajik were released on $100,000 bail, according to Parleman News, the Web site of the minority reformists of the parliament. It did not mention the bail amount for the other two journalists. CNN was not immediately able to independently verify the bail amount.

The protests around Ashura were Iran's deadliest clashes since protests broke out last summer after incumbent President M... >>>

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