TEHRAN: Iranian authorities shut down a reformist magazine that had urged negotiations with the US, local media reported on Sunday.
The weekly magazine Seda was handed a suspension order on Saturday by a court in Tehran, the reformist daily Arman reported.
Seda’s most recent front page had shown a US aircraft carrier fleet and the caption “At the crossroads between war and peace.”
The magazine called for “high-level engagement” between the US and Iran, warning that closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz, an occasional Iranian threat, would lead to “widespread war.”
A third of all oil traded by sea passes through the strait, which lies at the narrow mouth of the Arabian Gulf.
Recent US military deployments to the Arabian Gulf, including an aircraft carrier strike group, have raised tensions with Iran. Tehran has also begun setting its own deadlines over its unraveling nuclear deal that President Donald Trump pulled US out of a year ago.
The hard line Iranian newspaper Kayhan criticized Seda’s reporting as parroting the “voice of Trump through the mouths of reformists.”
Iran’s Parliament also held a closed session on Sunday to discuss recent developments in the Arabian Gulf, state TV reported. The head of the elite Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Hossein Salami, spoke about the increased US military presence, but the broadcast did not give specific details.
After the session, a prominent lawmaker said Salami had assured Parliament that Iran’s military is strong enough to deter any US threats, which Salami called “psychological warfare.”
Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, who heads the influential parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, told the official IRNA news agency that Iran is not looking to deepen the crisis. He said the US position will weaken with time, and that there are currently no grounds for negotiations with Washington.
On Friday, Iran rejected a request by Trump for talks, after the president said he would like Iranian leaders to “call me.”
John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, announced the deployment of a US aircraft carrier and its strike group on May 5 over “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” that still have not been specified.
Iran’s Shiite theocracy views the presence of US forces ringing its country with suspicion.
The US re-imposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.