Tehran shuts down reformist magazine, media say

The front cover of the May 11 edition of the weekly reformist magazine. (AP)
Updated 12 May 2019

Tehran shuts down reformist magazine, media say

  • Seda magazine had warned that Iran’s threat to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz would lead to “widespread war”

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.

Qatari network Al Jazeera slammed over ‘Holocaust denial’ film

Updated 19 May 2019

Qatari network Al Jazeera slammed over ‘Holocaust denial’ film

  • Video on AJ+ Arabic channel claimed Israel was the genocide’s ‘greatest beneficiary’
  • Network suspends two journalists over ‘violation of editorial guidelines’

LONDON: Al Jazeera’s youth channel AJ+ Arabic has drawn widespread condemnation over a video that was branded “Holocaust denial” for claiming the Jews exaggerated the scale of the genocide to help establish Israel.
After widespread public anger, the Qatar-owned network was forced to delete the video, suspending two of its journalists over its broadcast.
The video in question, while not disputing the Holocaust took place, suggested the Jews had skewed facts about the genocide, and that Israel was the “biggest winner” from it.

“Denouncing the Holocaust is a moral obligation, but Israel is the biggest winner from the Holocaust,” the presenter said.
“And it uses the same Nazi justifications as a launching pad for the racial cleansing and annihilation of the Palestinians.”
Many took to Twitter in outrage about the video, with one commentator pointing out the difference between AJ+ in Arabic, and its English output.
Al Jazeera has long been accused of broadcasting extreme material in Arabic, but churning out seemingly more balanced material in English, aimed at a Western audience.

In a statement on Sunday, the network said it had suspended two journalists over “violation of its editorial guidelines.”
“The video content and accompanying posts were swiftly deleted by AJ+ senior management from all AJ+ pages and accounts on social media, as it contravened the Network’s editorial standards,” it said.
The network has also said a “mandatory bias training and awareness program” was required for its staff.