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Reformist Newspaper in Iran Shut Down Over Imam Ali Article

While the first newspaper under President Rouhani's tenure has been shut down for covering a sensitive religious topic, there are signs that the days of mass newspaper closures have not returned.

TEHRAN — On Monday, Oct. 28, Iran's Press Supervisory Board banned the reformist newspaper Bahar after it published a controversial article on Imam Ali. Alaedin Zohourian, chairman of the paper's board, told the Mehr news agency on Oct. 28 that the case has been referred to the courts. The government of President Hassan Rouhani has thus far gone along with the decision, which was not necessarily seen as part of a broader media crackdown.

Bahar published the article that sealed its fate on Oct. 28. In “Imam Ali, a Political Leader or a Religious Model?” the writer, Ali Asghar Gharavi, claimed that the religious role of the first Shiite imam was more important than his political role. He wrote, “He [Ali] is not just the political ruler for a few days of passing power in this world. Ali, more than being the commander of the faithful, is the imam and the role model for humanity.”

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