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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 16:52 GMT
Iran accuses MP over TV interview
Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie file picture 2005
Iranian Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie
The Iranian intelligence ministry has accused a leading reformist MP of committing treason by speaking to an American-funded television channel.

The ministry is investigating the interview given by the MP, Noureddine Pir Mouazen, for the Persian-language service of Voice of America.

The MP criticised the disqualification of hundreds of reformists from Friday's parliamentary elections in Iran.

Mr Pir Mouazen is among those who have been barred from standing.

The Intelligence Minister, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie, condemned Mr Pir Mouazen for giving the interview.

"This has definitely been treason and an appalling act," the minister told the state-run news agency IRNA.

"The law bans people in such positions from interviews with foreign radio and television. The intelligence ministry will certainly probe this and will not ignore it."

In the interview, Noureddine Pir Mouazen criticised the disqualification of reformist candidates by the Guardian Council, and cast doubt on the significance of the elections.

Iran's leaders regard Voice of America, and other foreign television stations that broadcast in Persian via satellite, as vehicles for propaganda against the Islamic republic.

A ban on satellite dishes in Iran is widely flouted.

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