Friday, June 26, 2009

Iran cleric for tighter controls on foreign media

TEHRAN (AFP) — Hardline Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami urged the government on Friday to "better control" the foreign media, accusing them of fomenting the protests over this month's presidential election.

He also suggested that anyone who resorted to violence during the demonstrations should be considered a mohareb -- someone who fights against God -- and face the ultimate sanction.

"The American, the European and the British media have shown their perversity in this story. They added oil to the fire," he said in his sermon at the main weekly Muslim prayers in Tehran which was broadcast nationwide.

"I expect the government to control them. How can they be allowed to wander round the country with their satellite phones giving information that provokes people to take to the streets?"

Iranian authorities have already clamped down on foreign media since the protests erupted over the re-election of incumbent hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a vote his main challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi has described as a "shameful fraud".

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