DUBAI - Iran arrested the managing director and political editor of a pro-reform daily on Wednesday, with the semi-official Fars news agency saying their detentions were linked to the publication of a letter from a former president about media freedom.
With a presidential election three months away, Iran's clerical leadership appears to be tightening its grip on the media to avoid a repeat of the protests that erupted after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.Fars agency quoted the daily Maghreb
's editor, Amir Mousa Kazemi, as saying that the arrests "can be related to the publication of Mohammad Khatami's letter" on Tuesday.
In the letter, the moderate former president, succeeded by Ahmadinejad, said he hoped Maghreb would continue to work alongside the "few remaining independent" publications in the country.
Khatami publicly backed defeated candidate Mirhossein Mousavi during the 2009 presidential election, which reformists said was rigged. Iran denied the accusation and has put Mousavi under house arrest for more than two years, along with fellow opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi.