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Iran’s state radio and TV reportedly censor president’s nuclear remarks

BBC Monitoring

By Saeed Barzin of BBC Monitoring on 7 October

Iran's radio and television channels have on several occasions "censored" President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad's comments about the country's nuclear dossier, a pro-government website reported on 6 September.

Rajanews.com said the state-controlled radio and television did not broadcast parts of the speeches he had made at the recent Friday congregation, at a student gathering and at a meeting of military commanders.

The "censoring" of Ahmadinezhad is apparently due to differences of opinion, at the top political echelon, about the handling of the nuclear dossier.

Since Ahmadinezhad came to power in 2005, pro-government websites have been critical of the radio and television organization for failing to give full support to the government.

Friday prayer remarks

"The radio stopped the broadcast of president's important" pre-sermon speech, on Friday 5 September, as he was talking about the nuclear dossier, Rajanews said.

"In the speech, Ahmadinezhad was speaking about the nuclear issue and domestic elements who are in accord with the enemy... who are seriously troubled and who think they can present a solution to the nuclear problem," Rajanews said.

"At this point, the broadcast of the speech - which was live on the radio came to a sudden stop."

Rajanews said that the radio failed to resume the broadcast. However, the BBC has monitored only several minutes of interruption.

On previous occasions, different factions in Iran's political establishment have criticized Ahmadinezhad's remarks about the nuclear dossier.

In January, the hard-line Jomhuri-ye Eslami newspaper criticized the president for commenting regularly on the nuclear crisis.

"Certain important! decisions that you announce in your provincial speeches give the impression that decisions have been made unwisely and without thought. Why is there a need for the president to speak about the nuclear policy in his speeches?" the paper asked.

Censorship on television

A staunchly pro-government news outlet, Rajanews has published two reports criticizing the state radio and television for censoring the president.

"The television has also censored the president's remarks about nuclear spies, in his speeches for university students and commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)," the site said.

Nuclear spy is a reference to the former nuclear negotiator, Hoseyn Musavian, who was detained in April for alleged security breaches.

The details of the two censored remarks are not known but Ahmadinezhad addressed the congress of the Islamic Association of Students on 2 September and a gathering of IRGC commanders on 11 September.

According to Rajanews, Ahmadinezhad's remark about "certain people who want to negotiate with the West" was in reference to Hasan Rowhani, the country's former top nuclear negotiator, who is affiliated to a more pragmatic tendency.

Rowhani was to meet EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana in September as part of his visit to Europe but cancelled the meeting at the last moment. Hard-liners in Tehran have accused Rowhani of trying to stage a comeback.

Source: BBC Monitoring research 7 Oct 07



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