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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 July, 2003, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Iran press limits protest comment
Iranian press review graphic

Reformist newspapers in Iran have reluctantly complied with the authorities' request not to comment on the fourth anniversary on Wednesday of a raid on a Tehran University dormitory that triggered student riots.

Conservative and hardline dailies, however, praise students for not turning out for the expected street demonstrations.

"We apologise to all the people and our readers for not being able to write a word yesterday, 9 July, about this tragic and criminal event," says the reformist paper Yas-e Now.

"When we read other reformist papers, we realise that they did the same and followed orders."

A 'normal' day

The hardline daily Jomhuri-ye Eslami, however, thinks the day represented a defeat for the opposition.

A chaos-seeking faction has been hoping to exploit the students' movement since 1999

"The dregs of society had not learned a lesson from the shame of their earlier defeat a few weeks ago," it says, referring to those who took to the streets of Tehran in mid-June protesting against the privatisation of the universities.

"They called on their gang of thugs and hooligans to start riots under the guise of marking the 9 July 1999 student demonstrations," the paper adds.

"But the situation remained normal and their propaganda failed once more."

'US involvement'

The conservative daily Resalat echoes the same sentiment.

"A chaos-seeking faction has been hoping to exploit the students' movement since 1999," the paper proclaims.

It accuses the US of trying to fuel the unrest by "gathering thugs and mob to start the riot".

"Students and other young people realised the nature of this faction and avoided becoming victims of this political game," the paper adds.

The hardline daily Keyhan also praises the authorities for banning a sit-in planned by the students in front of the UN offices in Tehran.

It says that this action foiled a plan by five reformist MPs who wanted to "score a point by playing the role of mediators and persuade the students to abandon their planned sit-in".

"As if one could run a country through such spoilt games," it says.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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