London – Iranian authorities have shut down a local newspaper on Monday for criticizing the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
Ghanoon Newspaper announced on its website that the Iranian authorities have ordered its shutting down following complaints from the IRGC intelligence services.
This decision came two days after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for greater freedom of expression in the media.
The paper has been accused of “libel and publishing falsehoods to create public anxiety,” according to its website. However, it did not specify which reports had upset the IRGC.
In remarks delivered on Saturday during an Iftar banquet, Rouhani noted that his government honors the freedom of press in the country, saying any obstacles hindering the full realization of this matter should be removed. Rouhani’s words were quoted by Mehr news agency.
He added any weak point in the relations of the government with the media was “a great deficiency”, highlighting the need for bridging the gap and strengthening the connection.
Ghanoon was temporarily banned in 2014 over a report about possible corruption charges against a former member of the IRGC after he was released on bail.
The newspaper also faced fierce condemnation in January when it criticized the IRGC in wake of the arrest of 10 American sailors in Iranian waters.
It said that the video which aired on the Islamic Republic’s state television showing U.S Navy personnel kneeling with their hands behind their heads was reminiscent of beheadings by the so-called ISIS.
Iran freed the U.S. sailors in less than 24 hours.
IRGC Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari called the article “a big mistake”, adding that Ghanoon “must repent for what it had said”.