Reporters Without Borders is condemning the arrest of IRNA reporters and the closure of the Etemad daily newspaper, saying journalists have fallen victim to the power struggle inside the Islamic Republic.
On Monday, judiciary officials raided the offices of IRNA, the Iranian state news agency. It happened as Ali Akbar Javanfekr, the head of IRNA, was holding a press conference to speak out against the one-year sentence he recently received for publishing a special issue regarding the place of women in Islam.
In addition to his prison sentence, Javanfekr was banned from media activities for three years.
Previous to the raid on IRNA, Javanfeker had given an interview to Etemad, which led to the closure of the independent newspaper.
Javanfekr was highly critical of the ultra conservative Principalists in the Islamic Republic establishment, and in his interview with Etemad, he accused them of creating obstacles for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that impede his duties.
Javanfekr is Ahmadinejad’s press advisor, and many of the president’s top allies have fallen victim to the growing tensions between Ahmadinejad supporters and the staunch supporters of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
Monday’s raid led to the arrest of several journalists, some of whom remain in custody. Javanfekr was handcuffed at the site and was only released after Ahmadinejad intervened.