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Iran Shuts Official State Newspaper


The Iranian government has closed an official newspaper because of a cartoon the paper ran last Friday.

State television quotes the country's chief prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi Tuesday as saying the paper's cartoonist Mana Neyestani and one of its editors have been detained.

The cartoon, which poked fun at ethnic Azeris, sparked riots in the northwestern city of Tabriz, the capital of Eastern Azerbaijan province. The cartoon portrayed an Azeri as a cockroach who was speaking Azeri.

On Monday, rioting Azeris pelted government buildings with stones. Police used tear gas to disperse them.

About 25 percent of Iran's population is Azeri. Azeris speak a language close to Turkish.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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