Iranian authorities have shut down the daily Etemad for “publishing falsehoods and insulting public officials.”
Elias Hazrati, the director of Etemad, told Fars News Agency today: “Last night I was contacted by the Culture and Guidance Ministry and informed that Etemad Newspaper will be shut down for two months by the order of the prosecutor.”
Hazrati claims the main reason for shutting down Etemad is the interview it published featuring Ali Akbar Javanfekr, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s press advisor and the head of IRNA, the state news agency.
ISNA also confirmed that the spokesman for the judiciary has announced Etemad’s shutdown.
On Saturday, Etemad published a controversial interview with Ali Akbar Javanfekr, criticizing the actions of the prosecutor’s office, Members of Parliament and the ultra-conservative members of the establishments. He claimed they consistently presented obstacles to the Ahmadinejad administration.
He was also critical of the lack of controls on the Ministry of Intelligence during Ahmadinejad’s two terms as president.
Analysts say Etemad’s suspension is meant as a warning by the Islamic Republic’s conservative factions that they will not tolerate any public criticism.
Etemad was shut down once before in 2009 for violating press laws.
With tensions growing between Ahmadinejad supporters and the conservative elite, the Iranian media find themselves treading a thin line as they try to report on national affairs without offending the establishment.