Iran brands Western media ‘dishonest cocky cheats’

AFP – TEHRAN — Iran’s deputy culture minister lashed out at Western media on Sunday, branding them “dishonest, cocky cheats,” who will be banned from an annual press fair in the autumn, the ILNA news agency reported.

“This year none of the Western media are allowed to participate in the fair,” said Mohammad Ali Ramin, who is also a press watchdog official.

“We have eliminated them, because Western media are dishonest, cocky cheats and see themselves as the invincible sultans of the world,” he said, adding that “there are rare exceptions” without elaborating.

Iranian authorities have cracked down on media and journalists since the June 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which the opposition dismissed as massively rigged, sparking street protests.

Scores of journalists have been jailed and several leading newspapers close to the opposition shut down, while journalists working for foreign media are banned from covering opposition protests.

After the June poll, a resident correspondent for the BBC was expelled and Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian reporter for Newsweek, was jailed for nearly four months and later sentenced in absentia to 13 years and six months behind bars plus 74 lashes.

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