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Offices of website closed

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has criticised the closure of the offices of the hardline website http://www.Baztab.com, calling it a "troubling example of the government's repressive policies."

The shutdown, by the Teheran state prosecutor's office on 19 September 2007, once more deprived Iranians of a website that disagreed with the government's official line. "The list of closed and censored sites is growing, as are the regime's instruments of repression," it said.

The closure came after seven months of conflict with the government when the legal effort by the president's office to close the site was approved. Access to the site inside Iran was blocked between 12 February and 19 March after it violated a 27 November 2006 ban on putting out "inaccurate news," "violating the national constitution" and "undermining personal privacy" or "national unity."

Baztab.com has carried reports on Iran's nuclear industry and on corruption in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was criticised. The site, which is close to the former head of the Guardians of the Revolution, Mohsen Rezai, was ordered by the Council of State on 29 March to be filtered. The Iranian news agency ISNA said the site had been targeted by 15 lawsuits from Ahmadinejad supporters.

Meanwhile parliament began debating on 23 September whether to allow websites to be regulated in the same way as other media outlets.

Another hardline website, Entekhab, has been the target of four filtering orders since November 2006.

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