New start for banned Iranian newspaper

Iran's reformist daily newspaper "Yas No" has been relaunched after a single edition in six years.

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Iran's reformist daily newspaper "Yas No" was relaunched today after the authorities halted publication following a single edition on May 17 which itself came after a six-year ban. Owner Mohammad Naimipour wrote in an editorial that an official from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance told him on June 3 that the ban had now been lifted. Yas No (New Jasmine) was stopped from publishing from May 17 at the request of Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi, who made a complaint six years ago that led to the initial ban.

Mr Naimipour said the paper, which is seen as close to former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, had been relaunched since the previous decision to block it was "no longer valid". The paper was banned by the judiciary six years ago when it published a letter from reformist MPs questioning the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's role in the mass disqualification of candidates in the 2004 parliamentary poll.

The judiciary, which is dominated by conservatives, closed down scores of reformist titles during Mr Khatami's presidency between 1997 and 2005. Today's edition was clear in its support for the candidacy of former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi in the June 12 presidential election. Mr Khatami has also come out in support of Mr Mousavi. Mr Mousavi, a moderate, has emerged as the main challenger to the hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is seeking a second term in office.