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News | Reformist Daily Shut for Cartoon; IRNA Head Jailed in President's Absence

by DAN GEIST

27 Sep 2012 15:14Comments

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Farsi and Arabic press and excerpts where the source is in English. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Any views expressed are the authors' own. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow breaking news stories on our Twitter feed.

HadiHeidariCartoon.jpgUnfree Speech of the Day I

State shutters reformist Shargh daily due to cartoon

Shargh, one of the last major pro-reformist newspapers allowed to publish in Iran, has been closed and its managing editor incarcerated due to its publication of a cartoon earlier this week that shows a row of men tying blindfolds around each other. The cartoonist said the image was meant to represent "ignorance." Others saw it differently, as Your Middle East reports:

Officials...said the cartoon insulted Iranian fighters in the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). Iranian soldiers usually had ribbons reading holy words on their foreheads during the war. However, the cartoon by Hadi Heidari, a well-known cartoonist, doesn't display any armed person or military-related object.

Hadi Heidari, a member of the international federation of journalists, wrote a short text on his Facebook account after the controversy surrounding his cartoon.

"Those who know my past and my family are aware of my strong devotion to the gallant fighters of the war," he said. "In no circumstances would I insult these honorable [men....] All of us are indebted to their sacrifices." [...]

150 members of the Iranian parliament signed a statement, protesting against the Shargh newspaper's cartoon, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported Wednesday afternoon.

One member of the newspaper's staff reportedly said that he expected it would be closed for three months. There is no word yet on whether Shargh Managing Director Mehdi Rahmanian, apparently now held in Evin Prison, has been officially charged with a crime.

Quote of the Day

"The judiciary in Iran is independent of my administration and is not tied to me. You'll have to ask them."

-- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, responding to a question about the status of Michigan resident Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine who was arrested in Iran last August while visiting his grandmothers. Charged with spying for the CIA, Hekmati was convicted and sentenced to death. The conviction was overturned, but Hekmati remains in prison and has been permitted very little contact with his family.

Video of the Day

Ahmadinejad's final speech to the U.N. General Assembly as president of Iran. The president of the Islamic Republic is constitutionally limited to two four-year terms.

Headline of the Day

"Iran's Supreme Leader Sanctions a Different Take on Oil"

From The Source, a Wall Street Journal blog. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei makes an unambiguous call for an end to Iran's dependence on oil revenues: "Unfortunately, the country has fallen into this trap and efforts are needed to help the Iranian nation get out."

Unfree Speech of the Day II

Javanfekr, Ahmadinejad press adviser and IRNA chief, jailed

The BBC reports that Ali Akbar Javanfekr, President Ahmadinejad's top press adviser, was arrested Wednesday and imprisoned for publishing material that "insults" Khamenei. Javanfekr is also director of the state's Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) and publisher of the pro-Ahmadinejad Iran daily.

Last November, security forces attempted to arrest him at Iran's offices; a melee ensued between the agents and employees of the daily, while Ahmadinejad intervened by phone to ensure that Javanfekr would not be detained. Wednesday's arrest and incarceration took place while the Iranian president was in New York addressing the U.N. General Assembly.

In August 2011, Iran outraged religious conservatives with the publication of a special section devoted to hejab that included an interview with another Ahmadinejad adviser, Mehdi Kalhor, who declared, "From a philosophical viewpoint, chador is the worst type of hejab." An editorial appeared in that same issue of the paper that strongly, if implicitly, backed the president in his struggle for power with Khamenei and the Supreme Leader's camp. "Weakening this government will create the greatest mental hopelessness among the people," the editorial stated. "If people lose hope in the Ahmadinejad administration, they will be prepared to take any action."

Photo of the Day

MayaNaserPressTV.jpg

Press TV correspondent Maya Naser, killed by a sniper in Damascus while reporting on the bombing of the military command building in the Syrian capital. Hossein Mortada, Damascus bureau chief for Press TV and Al-Alam, the Islamic Republic's Arabic-language channel, was shot and wounded in the sniper attack.

Copyright © 2012 Tehran Bureau

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