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Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Uproar over Iran's media ban
An anti-US sign at a demonstration to support Iran's supreme leader
Tensions run high in Iran over media censorship
The ban on media reports promoting talks with the United States has sparked lively debate in Iranian papers.


Reformists are the devoted servants of America

Kayhan

The pro-reform Aftab-e Yazd disputes the legality of the ruling. It questions whether the Tehran Justice Department has the authority to make such a decision.

It believes that the ban is an attempt to divert attention from the "secret talks" that it says the Conservatives are holding with the US.

"Why does the Tehran Justice Department not issue a statement against possible secret talks with America by some wilful elements?"

The reformist Nowrooz shares the same view.

"It is not clear to us why the head of the Justice Department in the capital has decided to restrict the dissemination of information about ties with America instead of concerning himself with the recent secret talks," it says.

Reformists attacked

The country's Conservative papers in turn are highly critical of the reformist deputies.

The hard-line Kayhan describes them as "the devoted servants of America", who "harp about talks with the Great Satan".

The Jomhuri Islami questions why the reformists would want to improve ties with the US at a time when protests against President Bush and his policies have been held in Germany, Russia and France.


If the reformists go to America and shake the hands of American Congressmen and negotiate with them and do not ask anyone's permission, is this not tyranny?

Resalat

"In these circumstances, the efforts of a number of deputies to create a strong wave of support for talks and ties with America is the most questionable measure that can be undertaken in a revolutionary country such as Iran," the paper says.

The Conservative Resalat contains an attack on Elaheh Kula'i, the reformist deputy who described the issue in parliament as "despotic" and "unconstitutional".

The paper accuses Mrs Kula'i of trying to clothe her official views "in a robe of rationality".

It says that reformists who try to promote talks with the US are themselves guilty of tyranny.

"If they go to America and shake the hands of American Congressmen and negotiate with them and do not ask anyone's permission, is this not tyranny?" the paper 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.

See also:

26 May 02 | Middle East
08 Feb 02 | Country profiles
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