Monday, August 6, 2007

Shargh is Gone!

Shargh, one of Iran’s leading reformist papers, was closed down today. The government announced that the reason for the ban was “the publication of an interview with an anti-revolutionary and homosexual woman” (ISNA). The government was apparently alluding to an interview with Saghi Gharhraman, an Iranian-Canadian poet, which appeared under the title of “Womanly Talk” [Zaban-e Zananeh] in the paper’s literature section on 4 August (13 Mordad).

This is the second time that Ahmadinejad’s government is closing Shargh. The paper was banned last September after publishing a cartoon regarded by the government as personally insulting Ahmadinejad. The ban was rescinded in March. This time, it appears that Shargh is gone forever.

Shargh publisher Mohammad Reza Rahmanian told Jahan News that “today is the day that Shargh died.” Iranian journalists and reformist papers have been under assault by the government. Currently, 11 journalists and cyber-dissidents are detained in the notorious Security Section 209 at Tehran’s Evin prison. The closing of Shargh is the latest move in government's all-out war against free press in Iran.

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