The Iranian government imposed a ban on reformist newspaper Bahar Monday after it published an article considered anti-Islamic, according to the Associated Press.
"Based on the verdict issued by the press supervisory board, Bahar newspaper has been banned and its case has been referred to the judiciary," said Alaedin Zohourian, chief of the government's press watchdog.
Bahar had published an op-ed article last week that expressed doubts that Prophet Muhammad had officially appointed a successor, undermining one of the key beliefs of Shiite Muslims who believe the Prophet called on Ali Ibn Abi Talib to be the next leader of Islam.
Before the ban was announced, the newspaper's chief editors announced that Bahar's operations would be shut down for two weeks and issued an official apology statement saying that the article was an unintentional mistake. "The article which has sadly hurt the feelings of the believers was published due to a technical error ... [the editor] has apologised several times and criticised the article to show it was contrary to Bahar (political) line."
Bahar received criticism from both hardline and reformist camps. Iran's Culture Minister Ali Janati told reporters that the article "played a role in creating religious conflict in the country." Reformist leader, Mohammed Reza Aref said that "Reformist media should act wisely and should not give an excuse to rivals who seek to undermine the reformist camp."
Since 2000, Iran's judiciary has shut down more than 120 pro-reform media outlets and has arrested numerous editors and writers according to the report.
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