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Iran Jails Editor Over Offensive Article

Editor of Bahar, an Iranian reformist newspaper, Saeed Pourazizi, has been jailed for publishing an article on Shia Islam deemed offensive by authorities.

The ISNA news agency quoted Pourazizi’s wife, Masoumeh Shahriari, as saying her husband was summoned to court but was taken to jail instead.

She said authorities have demanded bail in exchange for his release.

The week preceding Pourazizi’s arrest, the government had banned Bahar because of an article authorities said questioned Shia Islam’s beliefs about the Prophet Mohammed’s appointed successor.

Shia Islam is the official religion of Iran.

The daily had issued an apology, saying publishing the article was an “unintentional mistake” and it had temporarily suspended activities to “ease the tensions”.

Culture Minister, Ali Janati, said the article “foments religious conflicts” and that the daily had received earlier warnings.

Bahar and several other reformist dailies, notably Shargh, only resumed publication at the end of 2012 after a ban lasting several years.

Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, the country’s judiciary chief said his department will “act with determination against those who falsify the history and try to undermine the fundamentals of the regime”.

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