Iran closes reformist daily over nuclear cartoon

Iran on Monday closed down a prominent reformist daily because of what journalists said was a cartoon dealing with the country's controversial nuclear program, the paper's editor said. The daily Shargh, or East, was the most prominent reformist daily opposed to the hard-line policies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "We got a call from the Press Supervisory Board saying that we have no right to publish our newspaper as of today," editor Mohammad Ghouchani told The Associated Press. The Press Supervisory Board ordered the daily to be closed down for "dozens of violations," the official IRNA news agency reported. The editor said he didn't know why his paper had been closed down. But reformist journalists at other newspapers said the closure followed the publication last week of a cartoon on Iran's nuclear dispute with the West. Iran saw a wave of newspaper closures in past years amid a confrontation between reformers and hard-liners during the 1997-2005 tenure of reformist President Mohammad Khatami. The hard-line judiciary shut more than 100 pro-reform newspapers and jailed dozens of editors and writers.