Controversy continues to brew over the media ban on former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, with the Ministry of Culture and Guidance stating today that it has no directives from the Supreme National Security Council approved by the Supreme Leader.

Mohammad Khatami

Mohammad Khatami

Ministry spokesman Hossein Nooshabadi said on Monday December 14 that the Press Supervisory Board has received no directive regarding the media ban on Mohammad Khatami and it can only act in compliance with press laws.

Last February, the spokesman for the judiciary for the first time made an official statement that the prominent reformist figure, former president Mohammad Khatami, was subject to a media ban and could not be reported on or portrayed in the media.

Last week, the Etela’at daily published an interview with Khatami from Lebanon’s Al-Safir daily. The judiciary then announced that the director of Etela’at, Mahmoud Doayi, was being charged for violating the media ban on Khatami.

Doayi has challenged the judicial move, saying he will not abide by “restrictions based on personal biases” and the Etela’at daily will not change its policies on publishing news about Khatami.

The spokesman for the judiciary announced the charges laid against Mahmoud Doayi, saying the media ban on Khatami is based on a directive issued by the Supreme National Security Council.

Khatami became a target of severe criticism and attacks from conservative factions of the Islamic Republic during the election protests of 2009 for his association with those who challenged the election results and made allegations of vote fraud.