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The BBC's Jim Muir reports
"As happened with the other publications, Ham'mihan received a letter out of the blue ordering it to cease publication"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 16 May, 2000, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Another Iranian paper closed
Iranian women
This is the latest in a series of closures
Another reformist newspaper in Tehran has been closed down on the orders of the hardline Iranian judiciary.

The newspaper, Ham'mihan, was run by the former mayor of Tehran, Gholamhossein Karbaschi.

It is the 17th reformist publication to be closed in recent weeks in what is being seen as a right-wing backlash in the wake of the reformist victory in the general elections in February.

Newspaper stall
Choices for Iranian readers are getting more limited

In another development, the head of President Mohammad Khatami's press office has been summoned by the Iran's press court over articles in the reformist Bahar newspaper which he launched as a daily only last week.

Iranian state television reported on Tuesday that Said Pur-Azizi would appear before the conservative court this week over what the television station called "lies and insults" published in Bahar.

Order to cease publication

As happened with the other publications, Ham'mihan received a letter from the press court ordering it to cease publication.

The action was described as a preventive measure pending a court hearing.

Sources at the newspaper said the letter mentioned 17 complaints laid against the publication by six plaintiffs, all of them hardline institutions such as the Revolutionary Guards, the law-enforcement forces and the Intelligence Ministry.

Gholamhossein Karbaschi
Mr Karbaschi was a controversial mayor of Tehran
Ham'mihan has only been in circulation for the past three months.

It is a moderate reformist daily launched by Mr Karbaschi shortly after he was released from prison where he had been serving part of a sentence after being convicted on corruption charges.

Trials

The closure of Ham'mihan takes one more reformist publication off the streets.

A handful have survived the closures and the Bahar newspaper has been launched since the clamp-down campaign on reformist publications began.

In addition to the closures, a number of prominent journalists have also been jailed or put on trial.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has denounced the reformist press
They include two of the leading campaigning journalists, Imaduddin Baghi and Akbar Ganj.

The two have blazed a trail in making revelations about the serial killings of dissident intellectuals two years ago.

Mr Baghi's trial is reaching its closing stages, while Mr Ganj has been held in prison without trial for several weeks.

His family are concerned about his conditions and his state of health.

Courting controversy

The Bahar newspaper courted further controversy by predicting in its Tuesday edition that former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani will have to go through a further round of voting, in mid-term elections, if he wants a seat in the next reformist-dominated parliament.

The newspaper said Rafsanjani, who led the conservative-backed list of candidates in the Tehran constituency in the February elections, failed to win a seat in the parliament outright, in the first round.

He got through in the second round of voting as the one conservative win among 29 reformist victories in Tehran.

The conservative election authority, the Council of Guardians, is due to validate the Tehran results on Thursday after a series of recounts.

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