Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi

The Tehran Prosecutor has justified his staff members’ presence at the press conference held yesterday by Ali Akbar Javanfekr, the outspoken press advisor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Tehran Justice Department and Revolutionary Court website reports that Abbas Jafar Dowlatabadi says that after Javanfekr gave an interview to the Etemad daily, which led to the shutdown of the newspaper, the prosecutor’s office was informed that Ahmadinejad’s press aide was planning another press conference on Monday in order to repeat his “false and provocative” claims.

Dowlatabadi said official had warned Javanfekr on Sunday night about “expressing statements that foment further discord with an aim to disturb public perceptions, but apparently the warnings were not taken seriously.”

The prosecutor went on to say that on Monday, two officials from his office were dispatched to the press conference at the offices of the Iran daily newspaper, and Ali Akbar Javanfekr was handed a judicial summons.

Javanfekr had been sentenced to one year in prison for publishing the special Khatoon issue of Iran newspaper, with stories about the Islamic hijab and women’s obligation to follow Islamic dress codes in public. One statement in the issue that triggered outrage among Iran’s conservative elite was that the black head-to-toe covering worn by some women is said to have Western origins rather than being related to Islam.

Javanfekr, who is also director of the state news agency IRNA, reacted to his sentence by giving an interview to the Etemad daily, criticizing Iran’s ultra-conservative Principalists and their attacks on Ahmadinejad and his supporters.

The Tehran Prosecutor said Javanfekr “resisted judiciary orders and officials and, with phone calls and his presence, he provoked the staff and caused disorder in the press offices.”

After the incident, Javanfekr told ISNA that prosecution officials had used tear gas and electric shocks to arrest a number of reporters.

Dowlatabadi denied the use of tear gas and tazers, saying his officials do not carry such equipment.

IRNA, which is run by Javanfekr, reported that 40 people were detained in yesterday’s incident, adding that while 30 of them were released, ten remain in custody.

Tehran Governor Morteza Tamaddon announced that all the detainees will be released and he criticized officials for not finding a more appropriate manner of serving the summons. He added that the perpetrators of the attack on the Iran daily will be dealt with firmly.

The incident further establishes the growing rift in the Islamic Republic establishment, as well as the tensions between Ahmadinejad supporters and the conservative elite that is more in tune with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.