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Iranian President Backs Former Premier

26 July 2004 -- Iran's reformist leader Hojatoleslam Mohammad Reza Khatami today announced his support for former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi as a candidate in next year's presidential elections.

Mousavi has not yet issued a response to the invitation.

Also today, Iran's Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi joined around 100 Iranian journalists for a sit-in protest over a new crackdown on media freedoms in Iran.

The Association for Press Freedom says more than 90 publications have been closed and nearly 20 journalists and publishers jailed in recent months in Iran.

In addition, Canada has expressed dissatisfaction with an Iranian court decision to acquit an intelligence agent accused in the killing of Iranian-born Canadian photographer, Zahra Kazemi.

A court cleared Iranian Intelligence Ministry agent Mohammad Reza Aqdam yesterday in the murder case due to a lack of evidence.