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Temporary ban on Persian daily `Iran' lifted

5/5/02 Tehran, May 5, IRNA -- A temporary closure of the Persian daily `Iran' was lifted on orders of Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, it was announced here on Sunday morning.

In an interview with IRNA, `Iran' Managing Director Abdor-Rasoul Vesal confirmed the lifting.

Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) Mehdi Karroubi also said on Sunday that the temporary ban imposed on the daily was lifted Saturday night.

The speaker made the disclosure following a pre-session talk in Majlis by Ahmad Bourqani, a Majlis deputy from Tehran, on local media reports that two dailies, `Iran' and `Bonyan,' had been ordered closed temporarily.

"It was announced last night that the ban on the daily Iran was lifted," Karroubi clarified Sunday morning.

On Saturday, Vesal announced that the Persian daily Iran had received an order from the Justice Department of Tehran province to desist from further publication. Asked to elaborate, he said the newspaper is currently facing 96 various complaints.

The Persian daily Iran, whose license holder is the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), began publication in early 1995.

The daily drew sharp criticism from religious authorities last Friday after seminary students in Qom staged an angry demonstration for an article recently published in the daily deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

After a preliminary investigation, the authorities then called for the closure of the paper and the arrest of Vesal, IRNA Managing Director Abdollah Nasseri Taheri, and a former head of the Islamic Propagation Organization, Mohammad Ali Zam.

Banned daily Bonyan's lawyer says no reason for banning

Tehran, May 5, IRNA -- The lawyer of `Bonyan' of one of the two Iranian dailies banned by the judiciary on Saturday, Gholam-Ali Riyahi in a letter addressed to IRNA offered some explanation around the reasons for banning this widely circulated Iranian daily.

The letter begins: "The order for temporary banning of Bonyan is based on articles 12 and 13 of the law dating back to over 40 years ago on campaign against hooligans, Appendix 5 from Article 156 of the Constitution, and Article 26 of the Press Law."

Riyahi said: "in the preface of the banning order, there is a paragraph that quotes some Mr. Ali Ansari, the license holder of a rovincial weekly `Bonyan of Isfahan,' who has claimed that Bonyan daily has used not only that weekly's name, but also its layout format. But in the text of the order it is said that continuation of press crimes committed by the daily, many of which are punishable according to the laws, have led to deciding to ban the daily temporarily."

He added, "that is while the license holder of Bonyan has never before been summoned to a court of law and warned against committing a press crime, so how could he have possibly insisted on continuation of such a crime?!"

Riyahi writes that articles 12 and 13 of the old law to deal with the hooligans, as the prominent lawyers of the country have repeatedly mentioned during the past two years cannot be applied to cases in which press court is concerned, and the Appendix 5 of Article 186 of the Constitution is on the general duties and rights of the judiciary.

The letter continues: "the reason for referring to Article 26 of the Press Law, which is on offending the sacred religious values, is nowhere justified in the banning order either."

He adds, "Bonyan of Isfahan is a student weekly, and therefore it cannot refer to Article 33 of the Press Law, which s not applicable to periodicals that are not published based on licenses issued by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance."

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