“We cannot have the security officers to be the judge of the press. We need clear media rules and regulations,” Rouhani said. (The New York Times, 8 November)
After the approval of the nuclear agreement, JCPOA, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has repeatedly warned against what he calls attempts by U.S. and other Western powers to “infiltrate” the country and “spread their influence.” Since the speeches began, IRGC Intelligence has arrested the five journalists. A spokesman for the intelligence unit has appeared on live TV to accuse the journalists to have worked, some “unwittingly,” for the CIA.
Rouhani says the hardliners “misuse” Khamenei’s words “to detain and frighten opponents.” Iran will hold elections for the Majlis and the Assembly of Experts in late February. Accusing personalities associated with the camp of being the “infiltrating” agents of the U.S. would help the hardliners to disqualify moderate candidates from running in the elections.
In his speech, Rouhani also accused hardline media outlets of acting as “undercover police” and said, “they even tell their audience who is going to be arrested tomorrow.” He added the main hardline outlets are receiving official protection while making accusations against their political rivals.
Photo: The New York Times