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Editor guilty of insults for questioning dress code.

The director of the state-owned daily Iran has been found guilty by the press court of insulting Islamic principles for publishing stories that questioned the country's dress code for women.

Ali-Akbar Javanfekr is a close aide to President Ahmadinejad. The president has often questioned the rationale for forcing women in Iran to abide by a strict dress code.

Javanfekr is Ahmadi-nejad's communications director, the head of the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) and the director of the daily Iran, which is state-owned.

It was a series of articles in the August 1 issue Iran about women and hejab that caught the notice of many conservatives and prompted a suit against him.

The press court announced Sunday that the jury had unanimously found Javanfekr guilty of publishing materials "against Islamic principles" and of "contempt for and insult to women."

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Many conservatives complained about criticism in the articles of requiring women to cover their hair and of deploying police in the streets to enforce the dress code.

Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi accused Javanfekr of "hurting public mores and morality."

Javanfekr defended the articles and accused his accusers of "lying and fabricating laws," saying the lawsuit was an "invidious and disdainful action brought by a political current pretending to be principleists."

Ahmadi-nejad has never like state restrictions on women. Five years ago he ordered that the ban on women attending soccer matches be lifted. The clerical uproar was immense and he was overruled by the Supreme Leader. In his first news conference after his election in 2005, Ahmadi-nejad was asked if he would intensify the police drive to enforce the dress code and he snapped: "I have better things to do."

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Title Annotation:Ali-Akbar Javanfekr
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Nov 11, 2011
Words:281
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