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Rafsanjani's Brother Confirms Website Blocked After Official Order


By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's office manager and younger brother, Mohammad Hashemi, confirmed today in an interview with Iran's ILNA news agency that the website of the former president and head of the Expediency Council has been blocked after officials intervened over the site's content.

Rafsanjani during his July 2009 historical Friday prayers sermon

We reported earlier on the initial reports of the problem.

Now, Hashemi says, authorities asked the managers of the site "to purify" it, and reportedly specified that the ex-president's last Friday Prayers sermons should be removed.

In a Friday Prayer sermon in Tehran about a month after the disputed presidential vote in June 2009, Rafsanjani expressed doubts about the election results and called for the release of all postelection detainees.

Videos of the controversial sermon, which was not aired live by Iranian state television, were available on the homepage of Rafsanjani's website.

Hashemi says that after the webmaster of the ex-president's website failed to obey authorities' demand to remove the sermons, the website was blocked. He says the order came in an e-mail.

He calls the decision "illegal."

"It wasn't a legal order. In addition, it is not clear who ordered it," Hashemi says.

Copyright (c) 2011 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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