The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has urged authorities in Iran to lift the suspension of the reformist weekly magazine Seda and stop harassing critical media outlets.
"Iranian authorities must allow Seda to resume its operation immediately and cease any more attempts to censor the media," the New York-based media-freedom watchdog said in a statement on May 14, three days after an Iranian court ordered the indefinite suspension of the magazine.
The Culture and Media Court did not fully explain its decision, but the hard-line daily Kayhan published an article criticizing Seda for echoing the "voice of [U.S. President Donald] Trump through the mouths of reformists," according to CPJ.
The court ruling came after Seda published an article calling for "high-level engagement" between the United States and Iran, local media reported.
The reports said the magazine's cover featured a U.S. aircraft-carrier fleet with the title "at the crossroads between war and peace."
"Public and open debate about matters of security and foreign relations is of vital importance for the Iranian public," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour.
Seda's suspension comes amid growing tensions between the United States and Iran.
Earlier this month, Washington announced the deployment of an aircraft-carrier battle group to the Persian Gulf to counter what officials called "clear indications" of Iranian threats to the interests of the United States or its allies in the region.
Eight journalists were found to be imprisoned in Iran in direct relation to their work at the time of the CPJ's December 2018 prison census.