Iran’s president calls for freer media, as IRGC hardliners crack down


ROUHANI  FREEDOM OF PRESSIranian President Hassan Rouhani called for more transparent media regulations on Sunday in an apparent attempt to shield journalists from a crackdown by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), a hardline force virulently opposed to Western influence.

Rouhani is a pragmatic moderate who wants to improve Iran’s relations with the West and supports a landmark agreement reached in July to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in return for an easing of international sanctions.

But ultimate power is held by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who controls both the IRGC and the judiciary. Even as Iran implements the nuclear agreement, the IRGC has rounded up several journalists, as well as artists and U.S. citizens, on charges including propaganda and espionage.

In comments that clearly highlighted his differences with the hardliners, Rouhani said: “Transparent regulations will stop certain people picking up on a word or a sentence in a media outlet and putting their freedom at risk.”

With a nod to the United States and Britain, frequent subjects of hardliners’ suspicions, he said it was a shame that no Iranian publication had lasted as long as the New York Times or the Times of London.

Shutting down a newspaper should be the last resort, “just as execution is always the last punishment”, he said at the opening ceremony of a press exhibition in Tehran.

Critics of the recent arrests say they appear to be arbitrary and the charges ill-defined. While some newspapers are routinely targeted, Rouhani said others enjoy close ties to security bodies.

“By reading their headlines you know who will be arrested tomorrow,” he said.

In June, Rouhani called on the judiciary to be more transparent in dealing with so-called political and security crimes.

But the IRGC and judiciary have shown no intention of obeying the president. Journalists, writers and social media activists continue to be interrogated and arrested by government agencies including the IRGC, a United Nations investigator said in October.

The powerful Guards have arrested at least five journalists in recent days, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Wednesday, and accused them of being part of an “infiltration network” linked to “hostile Western countries”.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said on Sunday the wave of arrests was politically motivated as “one political faction is using the concept of infiltration to eliminate its rivals”.




13 responses to “Iran’s president calls for freer media, as IRGC hardliners crack down”

  1. 5thDrawer Avatar

    Rouhani must have had lunch with Obama … he’s going to get himself into a world of shit.

    1. arzatna1 Avatar

      Or has been talking too much on the phone with David Cameron.
      Expect the expected when he will soon be summoned by the Supremo

      1. 5thDrawer Avatar

        Which droll event we will be told about along with the whole history of everything since… well … one of those prophets anyway.

    2. MekensehParty Avatar

      Did you smell Tehran?

  2. Exactly what is the point of Iran having a president if he has no power? It has even got worse under Rouhani in number of political prisoners and executions for crimes of thought.

    Other than a distraction, from the facts that Iran is a theocratic dictatorship with tight, obsessive and extremely paranoid government system that offers excessive and crippling corruption and very little in the way of basic human rights.
    The remaining overtones of religious BS, they can stick up their azz. Religion is a poor excuse to maintain such nasty leadership of a prospective modern country.

    Iran has little to none allies that will come to rescues the mad mullah ayatollahs in the case of another freedom revolution.

    I am unsure why the Iranian population does not rise up against the mullahs and form a real democracy. Fvcking sheep to the slaughter.

    5th, I am sure you would remember Zahra Kazemi….

    1. MekensehParty Avatar

      They will eventually, but the leaders of the anti-mullahs movement know how blood thirsty the pro-mullahs are and so they’re waiting for an opportunity where Iran won’t look like present day Syria. Will the opportunity come before they run out of patience? Tough to predict. For now I think all their calculations are based on when khamenei will die and how they will replace him with a supremo from their ranks.

      1. 5thDrawer Avatar

        There’s still plenty of ‘hard-line’ brain-deeds … who have never been out of the monks’ cells.

    2. 5thDrawer Avatar

      Yes … and it’s documented … a female and a reporter … not to be allowed at all at all at all ..

  3. MekensehParty Avatar

    Countdown to an Iranian civil war…

    1. They are way over-due to rid their lands of evil Islamic dictatorship. It must truly suck to grow up in Iran.

      1. MekensehParty Avatar

        ask hind 😉

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