News / Middle East

Iranian Media Warned to Avoid Mention of Opposition Leaders

(L-R) Iranian opposition leaders: Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami (2009 file photo)
(L-R) Iranian opposition leaders: Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami (2009 file photo)

Iran's official Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, which oversees media in the Islamic Republic, is reported to have demanded Iranian media outlets stop mentioning opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami on the air or in print.

Iranian opposition sources, opposition websites, and Britain's The Guardian newspaper are reporting the country's top media organ has warned the press not to publish the names or pictures of three top opposition figures.  The ban reportedly includes Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and former president Mohammad Khatami.

Mousavi and Karroubi ran in last year's disputed presidential election in which incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the victor.  Mousavi, who claimed to have won the election, complained of widespread voter fraud, and called unsuccessfully for a new vote.

The opposition Irangreenvoice website published a copy of the allegedly secret memorandum to the Iranian press, announcing the ban.  It stressed that security officials desired to maintain calm inside the country, and that the media was responsible for doing so.

Iran witnessed weeks of unrest, including massive street protests, last year, by opposition activists following the presidential election.

Former Iranian president Abolhassan Bani Sadr, who lives in exile in Paris, says President Ahmadinejad was personally responsible for the press ban on the three men.

He says Mr. Ahmadinejad personally asked Iran's National Security Council to prohibit the press from publishing the names, declarations and positions of Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami, but that the council refused.  Mr. Ahmadinejad, he says, then went to his Information Minister, who published the secret communiqué forbidding mention of the three men in the press.

Bani Sadr says the ban does not prohibit the Iranian press from "insulting the three men or accusing them of hatching foreign-inspired plots against the government."  Iranian newspapers, he notes, "still continue to publish insults against him, personally" despite his nearly 30 years in exile.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei continues to refer to the three top opposition leaders as the organizers of sedition.  Iranian TV also uses that term to describe them.

Former Iranian diplomat and London-based analyst Mehrdad Khonsari says the Iranian regime is trying to deliberately ignore the three men, turning them into "non-persons".

"They have not said anything complimentary about them in any publication in the course of the last year, since the election," he said. "So, what they are trying to do - and this is something that they have been discussing - is the fact that if you ignore them, you are trying to say that these are non-persons and they are irrelevant.  That is the strategy."

Former president Bani Sadr insists the three opposition leaders still enjoy strong popularity inside Iran, according to internal polls that he has seen.  Khonsari agrees the Iranian public continues to sympathize with the men, but that some have become disenchanted with their handling of the opposition movement, as well as their recent positions.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs