Iran closes semi-official news agency temporarily for false report

Iran's state news agency IRNA says authorities have ordered the temporary closure of a semi-official news agency, Fars, for false reporting and disturbing public opinion. The IRNA report does not elaborate. But a governmental news Web site, Borna, says the agency was closed on Monday for three days because it carried a report that the head of Iran's Central Bank, Tahmasb Mazaheri, had been replaced by first vice president Parviz Davoodi. Authorities later denied the report of the replacement, and Fars reported the denial. Calls to Fars were not returned on Monday. Iran has seen a wave of media closures and jailing of dozens of editors and writers on vague charges since 2000. In March, authorites banned nine cinema and lifestyle magazines for publishing pictures and stories about foreign celebrities and promoting "superstitions."