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Saturday, 9 September, 2000, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Reformist paper goes national in Iran

A reformist provincial newspaper has gone on general circulation in Iran, following the closure of most of the national pro-reform press.

The Aftab-e-Yazd newspaper said in its first national edition it had a duty to take up a countrywide role, and gave strong backing to reforming Iranian society.

Correspondent say the paper is close to the reformist President of Iran, Mohammed Khatami.

Conservative-dominated courts have closed down more than twenty reformist newspapers since Mr Khatami's allies won the parliamentary elections in February, and the country's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has blocked the new parliament's attempts to lift press restrictions.

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