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Iran: Press Court Jury Members Appointed; Ahmadinejad Critics Purged

Source: Rooz online

"The Iranian press is not awaiting good days," says Dariush Ghanbari, spokesperson for the minority reformist faction in the Majlis, reacting to the news of changes in the press court's jury membership.  Now, "not even a single critic of the administration is among the new members."  

In the latest elections of the press court jury, held three days ago, 10 of the jury's 21 members were removed.  Among them were three prominent administration critics.  Fatemeh Karoubi, Mohsen Doagu and Masih Mohajeri have in the past criticized the administration's policies and management style.  Fatemeh Karoubi is the wife of Mehdi Karoubi, head of the Etemad Melli (National Trust) Party.  Masih Mohajeri, editor-in-chief of the Jomhouri Eslami newspaper, and Mohsen Doagu, Shemiran's Friday Prayer leader are both conservatives critical of the Ahmadinejad administration.

file photo

Following changes in the press court's jury composition and the replacement of critical figures with hardline supporters of the administration, Dariush Ghanbari predicted a swift ban on reformist newspapers: "The threshold of tolerance has decreased.  Now that the jury is full of hardliners, they will not hesitate in closing down critical publications."  Another member of the minority reformist faction in the Majlis, Ghodratollah Alikhani, notes that the new "monolithic composition" will allow the hardliners to "do whatever they wish."  He adds, "They took control of the jury so that they can confront whomever they want."  Reformist lawmaker from Semnan, Mostafa Kavakebian, also said, "the meaning of the jury is that it represents society's public opinion.  The absence of even one administration critic is unusual."  


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