ANKARA - Iran has shut down a hardline conservative weekly for criticizing the government's nuclear negotiations with six major powers aimed at ending a decade-old standoff, the Students News Agency ISNA reported on Monday.
The broad goal of the talks is to restrain Iran's nuclear energy capacity to remove any concerns it could be put to developing bombs in return for the lifting of sanctions that have ravaged the Iranian economy.
The Noh-e Day weekly, run by hardline member of parliament Hamid Rassai, had repeatedly criticised pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani's government for "making too many concessions" during the nuclear negotiations.
"Iran's press watchdog has banned the Noh-e Day weekly for publishing articles that contradicted the country's nuclear policy," ISNA reported.
"Each step that (Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad) Zarif took during the walk destroyed 100 kilograms of (Iran's) reserve of enriched uranium," the weekly said in January with respect to Zarif's lakeside promenade with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of the negotiations in Geneva.
That diplomatic stroll raised an outcry among Iranian hardliners deeply wary of Rouhani's moves to thaw Iran's long antagonistic relations with the West, and Zarif was summoned by hardline lawmakers to provide an explanation.
ISNA said Noh-e Day had also been accused of offending the late founder of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni.