Iran’s Press Supervisory Board has suspended the publishing licence of Maghreb daily alleging that the newspaper has violated legal limitations imposed on the press.

Bulletin News website reported on Monday March 11 that Maghreb Newspaper has lost its licence because of the publication of a number of articles that have been deemed insulting for high-ranking Islamic Republic officials.

“Yesterday Bulletin News announced, after many earlier warnings, that certain articles are being published that are derogatory in their reference to top state officials,” Bulletin News wrote today: “This is an organized movement that is being guided by certain elements and is also being guided by agents outside of the country.”

The reference appears to be to a critical article written in Maghreb by the political editor Alireza Aghairad about the president and the speaker of the parliament indicating a public loss of confidence in their competence.

Aghairad togethrer with director of Maghreb, Mohammad Mehdi Emami Nasseri, were arrested last Wednesday by security forces and released a day later.

Meghreb director told ISNA that they were arrested to give explanations about a number of published material in the tenth issue of Maghreb daily.

He added that the material was interpreted as insults to government officials but explanations convinced the judge otherwise.

Maghreb was introduced into the news kiosks last September and has held a critical stance toward state policies. It was shut down once in December for similar charges.

With the presidential elections looming large, the state has become doubly sensitive about media activities. A wave of journalist arrests and moves against newspapers that appear to take a slightly critical view of government activities or policies have created an atmosphere of intimidation amongst all media activists.

The presidential elections are slated for June 2013.