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Thursday, October 8, 1998 Published at 06:06 GMT 07:06 UK

World: Middle East

Iranian leader speaks on press freedom

The Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said the press is free to criticise the leadership on any subject, provided it does not try to undermine the government.

Speaking on Iranian radio, he said the state had to confront those who misused freedom of expression to try and hatch conspiracies against the government.

In recent months, Iran's judiciary have arrested six journalists and shut down six publications for allegedly printing lies.

Earlier, the New York-based Human Right Watch called on Iran to release four employees of a banned newspaper Tous, who were arrested last month.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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