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Khatami now a non-person.

The Judiciary has now confirmed publicly that the media in Iran are not permitted to write anything about former President Mohammad Khatami. He is officially a non-person.

Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossain Mohseni-Ejai told a press conference Monday: "The media are not allowed to reflect the image or statements of the head of the Reformist government." Khatami is the sole president recognized as a Reformist.

The ban on Khatami being mentioned in the media has long been rumored and has often been cited as fact by some political figures. But this was the first confirmation of it by the Judiciary.

Mohseni-Ejai said the order was issued some time ago and remains in effect, and any violation of the order by any media outlet will be dealt with as an offense.

Last July, Khatami mentioned a statement by Majlis Deputy Javad Karimi-Ghodosi saying Khatami was forbidden to travel abroad, appear in the media or make any statements to the media. Khatami said at the time that he had not been issued any order by the Supreme National Security Council barring him from talking to the media. But the order as described by Mohseni-Ejai is on the media quoting him, not on Khatami talking to the media.

Khatami's alleged support for the post-election protests of 2009 caused a deep rift between him and conservatives in the Islamic Republic. It is widely assumed that his position on the protests is behind the media ban. However, his predecessor as president, Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, strongly opposed the repression of the protests but appears in the media frequently.

Despite the judicial order against him, Khatami's can communicate with the public when he wants to through the foreign-based Persian media. In 2013, Khatami and Rafsanjani both publicly endorsed Hassan Rohani for president. Polls show Rohani jumped from single digits to a commanding lead within days after the foreign-based media circulated news of that joint endorsement.

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Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Feb 20, 2015
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