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UPDATE: Rafsanjani Brother Confirms Website Blocked After Official Order


Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's office manager and younger brother, Mohammad Hashemi, confirmed today in an interview with Iran's ILNA news agency that the website of the former president and head of the Expediency Council has been blocked after officials intervened over the site's content.

We reported earlier on the initial reports of the problem.

Now, Hashemi says, authorities asked the managers of the site "to purify" it, and reportedly specified that the ex-president's last Friday Prayers sermons should be removed.

In a Friday Prayer sermon in Tehran about a month after the disputed presidential vote in June 2009, Rafsanjani expressed doubts about the election results and called for the release of all postelection detainees.

Videos of the controversial sermon, which was not aired live by Iranian state television, were available on the homepage of Rafsanjani's website.

Hashemi says that after the webmaster of the ex-president's website failed to obey authorities' demand to remove the sermons, the website was blocked. He says the order came in an e-mail.

He calls the decision "illegal."

"It wasn't a legal order. In addition, it is not clear who ordered it," Hashemi says.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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