Iran News ...


1/21/03

Iran's mainstream party leader slams court for closing daily

Tehran, Jan 21, IRNA -- The head of the mainstream Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) Mohammad-Reza Khatami on Tuesday lashed out at a recent court decision which maintained ban on the daily Norouz ahead of its plan to resume publication after remaining closed for six months.

Mohammad-Reza Khatami, who is the deputy speaker of the Iranian parliament, was due to have headed the paper under the new name of Rouz-e No, taking over from its former editor Mohsen Mirdamadi who has been banned from press activities for four years.

"The new suspension of the daily Norouz indicates that the judiciary officials do not pay any attention to the violation of press owners' rights by state apparatus, especially the Judiciary," Khatami said in a letter to Culture Minister, Ahmad Masjed-Jamei.

"We must know that the deputy speaker of Majlis (Parliament) and the first MP from Tehran, despite having a valid license and no conviction in any court, has no right to publish a newspaper," he said in part of his letter.

Khatami urged the culture minister to 'explicitly ask the Judiciary if we are not allowed to publish a newspaper, why they they are wasting their time ... and sully their political and social credibility'.

Judge Saeed Mortazavi on Sunday announced that Norouz (New Day) had to remain closed because of new charges brought against it by several institutions, including police and volunteer Basij forces.

An Iranian appeals court upheld in July last year a six-month ban on Norouz as well as a six-month jail term against its editor, Mohsen Mirdamadi, who represents Tehran in the parliament.

A Tehran court had earlier brought a battery of charges against the paper, including publishing lies to incite public opinion and propagating against the Islamic Republic's officials. It had further banned Mirdamadi from press activity for four years.

On Monday, IIPF condemned the court decision as 'weird and unprecedented in the world history of justice'.

"They (respective judiciary officials) have virtually announced that the Islamic Republic cannot tolerate the publication of a newspaper by the children of the (Islamic) Revolution, who serve at the most important posts of the system," it added.

The ban follows the court's suspension of two other dailies Bahar (Spring) and Hayat-e No (New Life) earlier this month.

Bahar was banned first in August 2000 after the press court said that the paper had failed to take account of previous complaints lodged and had also published 'fabricated stories and blatant lies'.

Hayat-e No was banned after it published a cartoon, supposedly insulting to the founder of the Islamic Revolution, the late Imam Khomeini.

... Payvand News - 1/21/03 ... --



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