Iran orders the closure of a pro-reform newspaper

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian media are reporting that the country’s General Prosecutor has ordered the closure of a reformist newspaper on charges of insulting the Shiite religion.

The Friday reports say that the “Sedayeh Eslahat” newspaper was ordered shut down for publishing an article on female-to-male gender reassignment surgery. The prosecutor, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, ordered the editor be punished, too, the reports said.

On Thursday, a headline on the newspaper’s front page read: “Ruqayyah became Mahdi after 22 years.”

Ruqayyah was the daughter of Hussein, a Shiite Imam, and the article was published during Mu?arram, a holiday in which Shiite Muslims mourn the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad.

According to Shiite beliefs, Mahdi is the name of the 12th Shiite Imam who has lived since the 9th century.

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