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Iranian reformist daily back on sale after ban

The paper was shut down after publishing a satirical cartoon about war veterans

Gulf News

Tehran: Iran’s leading reformist daily newspaper, Shargh (East), reappeared on news-stands on Monday three months after being banned by the country’s media watchdog.

It was shut down in late September after publishing a satirical cartoon seen by the authorities as insulting to war veterans.

The cartoon depicted a line of men blinded by headbands slipped over their eyes leading each other, which might have been reminiscent of the headbands worn by soldiers during the 1980 to 1988 Iran-Iraq war.

Shargh was found “not guilty” in a press court in Tehran last week, according to its director Mehdi Rahmanian.

The daily’s closure created a stir even among conservatives, with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad publicly criticising Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Mohammad Hosseini over the ban.

Monday’s edition ran a large half-page picture of the iconic Azadi (Freedom) Square on its front page with the headline “Hello my Iran.”

Shargh is among the country’s half a dozen reformist dailies, including Bahar (Spring) daily which has also resumed publishing after being banned for years.

The Islamic republic’s press watchdog has banned several publications, mostly reformist journals, for breaching its strict regulations since Ahmadinejad’s disputed 2009 re-election.

Dozens of journalists are in prison, according to international rights groups.

Shargh has been closed several times in the past. In 2010 it reopened after a three-year ban for publishing an interview with an expatriate poet suspected of being a lesbian.