TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – The Tehran prosecutor has filed a lawsuit against two Web sites and their license holders for insulting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, state TV reported Tuesday.
The suits target the conservative Jahannews and Alef news Web sites, the report said. The hard-liner Ahmadinejad has frequently faced criticism from within his own conservative camp, where some see him as monopolizing power and handing posts to close associates.
The lawsuit appears to be part of a government crackdown on dissent launched amid the turmoil since June’s disputed presidential election. The crackdown has mainly targeted pro-reform and opposition figures, who claim Ahmadinejad won the election by fraud.
Alef belongs to lawmaker Ahmad Tavakoli, who has often criticized Ahmadinejad and last year led a campaign against his then-interior minister, who resigned after it was revealed he had a fake doctorate from Britain’s Oxford University.
Jahannews asserted in October that Ahmadinejad helped foment Iran’s postelection unrest with his rhetoric against opponents.
The TV report said Tehran prosecutor Abbas Dowlatabadi was “filing a suit” against the two for insulting the president. It was not clear whether he would seek to shut the sites down or pursue action against their license holders.
Iran also has a long history of closure of media. Authorities have banned hundreds of newspapers, magazines and Web sites and arrested dozens of journalists and bloggers since 2000.