Tehran: Iran’s press watchdog has imposed a ban on reformist newspaper Bahar for publishing an article seen by critics as questioning the beliefs of Shiite Islam, media reported on Monday.

“Based on the verdict issued by the press supervisory board, Bahar newspaper has been banned and its case has been referred to the judiciary,” Mehr news agency quoted press watchdog head Ala Al Din Zohourian as saying.

Bahar has issued an apology note, saying publishing an article last week was an “unintentional mistake”, and it temporarily suspended activities on Saturday to “ease the tensions”.

“The article, which has sadly hurt the feelings of the believers, was published due to a technical error... Editorial has apologised several times and criticised the article to show it was contrary to Bahar [political] line,” read its statement.

Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani, who has the support of reformists and moderates, pledged to work for more social freedom during his election campaign. Several reformist journalists and political activists have been released since he took office in August.