Tehran, 19 February 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's hard-line judiciary has shut down two of the country's main reformist newspapers on the eve of a controversial nationwide parliamentarian poll.
Tehran's public prosecutor shut down "Sharq" and "Yas-i No." The two dailies had published a letter written by reformist parliamentarians questioning the role of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the hard-line Guardians Council decision to disqualify some 2,300 reformist candidates from tomorrow's election.
Criticizing the supreme leader is a serious criminal offense in Iran.
Campaigning for seats in the 290-seat parliament officially ended at midnight yesterday. Out of the 5,625 candidates who are allowed to run, 888 have pulled out in protest. Iranian officials have called for a big turnout in the election.