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Iran Closes Two Pro-Reform Publications

"Ruzgar" editorial staff with its first issue in 2006.

"Ruzgar" editorial staff with its first issue in 2006.

Iran has shut down two publications after they published articles critical of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

The official Irna news agency said "Shahrvand-e Emrouz", a weekly reformist news magazine, was shut down for violating press laws.

It said the daily "Ruzgar" was temporarily closed down for publishing propaganda.

Both publications have been closed in the past.

Since 2000, Iran has closed more than 100 publications, accusing many of being "pawns of the West".

The latest closures come ahead of parliamentary elections in the Islamic Republic next March.

Last week, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the vote in March posed a potential risk to the country's security and called for national unity.

The 2009 contested reelection of Ahmadinejad sparked weeks of bloody protests.

Analysts say leaders in Iran are wary of a repeat of 2009 or, as some see as more likely, a low turnout from disaffected voters.