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Iranian Authorities Ban Student Protests, Warn Media

Tehran, 3 February 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian authorities today banned students from staging protests over the barring of reformist candidates from February elections and warned eight reformist newspapers about their reporting on the political crisis.

The warning to the media came from prosecutor Said Mortazavi, who shut down dozens of papers when he served on Iran's press tribunal.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, speaking today during a visit in Kyiv, said Iran's government still insists on holding free and fair elections.

"The government of President [Mohammed] Khatami insists on an election process that is competitive and fair and one in which the people can elect their own representatives."

Earlier, the European Commission said the EU expects the upcoming elections in Iran to be free and fair, with commission spokeswoman Emma Udwin saying the EU expects the elections to represent the "will of the people" in Iran.