'Press association in Iran shut down'

Int'l press groups condemn armed men reportedly storming offices of Association of Iranian Journalists.

iran trial 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP)
iran trial 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
A press organization in Teheran was shut down on Wednesday night, apparently by Iranian authorities. According to a Reuters report, armed men stormed the offices of the Association of Iranian Journalists, and then closed them down. The International Federation of Journalists was quoted in the report as condemning the raid, as well as calling for the Islamic republic to release over 40 journalists currently held in prison. "Government actions against media and journalists erode further the credibility and standing of the Government in national and the world opinion," an IFJ statement read. A member of the press group, who requested not to be named, was quoted in the report as confirming, "It is true, it has been closed down." The closure came amid the backgroup of a mass trial for more than 100 pro-reform figures and protesters accused of challenging the Islamic system. Among those on trial are many prominent reformist activists and political figures, including former vice president Mohammad Abtahi. The trial had been scheduled to resume Thursday, but was postponed until Saturday after 10 defense lawyers asked for more time to prepare, the state Islamic Republic News Agency reported. Many defense lawyers have complained they have been blocked from access to their clients. The Islamic Iran Participation Front, the biggest pro-reform group, issued a statement saying many of its members remain in detention and denouncing the "kangaroo court" overseeing the mass trial.