BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Middle East
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Wednesday, 9 August, 2000, 22:52 GMT 23:52 UK
Iran writer held as crackdown goes on
Thousands of Iranian conservatives demonstrate in support of supreme leader Ali Khamenei
Thousands of Iranians support the crackdown
By Pam O'Toole

A leading independent journalist has been arrested in Iran, in a continuing crackdown on the country's reformist press.

Masud Behnud, who writes mainly for reformist publications, is the second journalist to be detained this week. He was taken to Evin prison in Tehran on Wednesday morning.

He has been well known in Iran since before the Islamic revolution.

Newspaper seller holds final edition of the last major reformist newspaper, Bahar
Banned: Reformist newspaper Bahar
The circumstances surrounding his arrest are not clear. But it is believed he could be facing up to 85 complaints lodged against him in Tehran's press court.

The complaints are said to have been brought mainly by state prosecutors and the hardline group, Ansar Hezbollah, which supports the conservatives in Iran's ongoing power struggle.

Following the reformists' sweeping victory, led by President Khatami, in parliamentary elections earlier this year, the conservative judiciary succeeded in closing down virtually all of Iran's pro reform newspapers.

This week - apparently emboldened by the Supreme Leader's decision to block parliamentary reform of the harsh press law - the courts banned the last major reformist paper, Bahar.

Blatantly

The move has robbed the reformists of their main tool to communicate with their followers.

And the fact that the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has come out so blatantly against the revision of the press law - the centrepiece of the reformist parliament's agenda - has severely undermined the Khatami camp.

Reformist MPs are reported to have drafted a letter reaffirming their commitment to continue their agenda for change.

But in the absence of any reformist newspapers to publish it, they say they are going to wait to present it in parliament, in the hope that the conservative-controlled state radio will broadcast details of it live.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE


See also:

08 Aug 00 | Media reports
Iranian press back Ayatollah's intervention
24 Apr 00 | Middle East
Iran's liberal press muzzled
16 May 00 | Middle East
Another Iranian paper closed
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories