Iran Arrests 2 Journalists, Bans Reform Papers

Iranian authorities have arrested two journalists and banned three reformist publications, part of a crackdown on news media.

The latest moves are seen in the context of rivalries among political factions ahead of June’s presidential election.

A report by semi-official ISNA news agency Wednesday says agents from Tehran prosecutor’s office detained managing editor Mohammad Mahdi Emami Nasseri and political editor Ali Reza Aghaeirad of the reformist Maghreb daily over an article that criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month.

ISNA also quoted lawmaker Ali Motahari as saying that prosecutor’s office has banned three reformist periodicals — Mehrnameh and Tajrobeh monthlies and the weekly Asseman. He gave no further details.

In recent months Iran has escalated its press crackdown, arresting dozens of journalists for alleged cooperation with foreign-based Persian-language media organizations.