Ali Akbar Javanfekr

The Iranian judiciary has denied reports that Ali Akbar Javanfekr, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s press aide and the director of state news agency IRNA, has been arrested by the authorities.

A number of Iranian media sources reported that security forces entered the offices of the newspaper Iran, where Ali Akbar Javanfekr was holding a press conference today, and arrested the president’s media advisor.

The Shafaf website, a source close to ultra-conservative principalists, reports that the security forces are currently in the building and intend to arrest Javanfekr. The report indicates that reporters have been moved from the premises, and the newspaper is said to have been shut down.

The report claims that the arrest is being resisted by Javanfekr supporters, who demand that the Minister of Culture visit the scene and have started a fire on the fourth floor.

The Nasim website also reports that the Iran newspaper staff members are shouting slogans and resisting Javanfekr’s arrest.

The Mehr News Agency has reported that the prosecutor’s representatives arrested Javanfekr following his press conference where he condemned the shut down of Etemad newspaper.

The Fars news agency reported that a number of political activists and MPs have demanded that the judiciary deal with Javanfekr’s recent actions.

ISNA, however, cited the spokesman for the judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, stating that Javanfekr has not been arrested. A similar statement was made on IRNA.

In an interview published this week in the Etemad daily, Javanfekr made strong statements against Ahmadinejad’s rivals among the conservative elite.

The Etemad newspaper was shut down yesterday for publishing the interview.

Meanwhile, Javanfekr reportedly has been sentenced to a year in prison for the special Khatoon issue, in which claims were made that the traditional black head-to-toe covering called the chador, which is worn by some Iranian women, has its roots in 19th century Paris rather than Islam.

Ahmadinejad and his supporters have been accused by ultra conservatives of being part of a “deviant current” that is trying to derail the clergy’s rule of the Islamic Republic.

The growing rift in the Iranian regime surfaced last April, when the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei reinstated Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi after Ahmadinejad accepted his resignation.

Rather than removing Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah Khamenei has resorted to slowly clipping Ahmadinejad’s wings by arresting a number of his aides and making sure that they do not get a foothold in Parliament in the March elections.