Dubai: According to reports, Iran’s judicial authorities banned a newspaper from publishing a front-page picture on Monday, which appeared to show Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei painted in general anger over the country’s economic downturn. The poverty line of the Islamic Republic.
The semiofficial Mehr news agency said Iran’s media supervisory body shut down the daily newspaper Kelid after it published a front-page article titled “Millions of Iranians Living under Poverty Line” on Saturday.
Under the headline, the graphic shows a person’s left hand holding a pen and drawing a red line across the page as silhouettes of people underneath are reaching up to the line.
The graphic resembled an earlier image of Khamenei writing on a piece of paper with his left hand, a prominent ring on one of his fingers. His right has been paralyzed since a 1981 bombing.
The Youth Reporters Club, an organization related to the national television station, reported earlier that the newspaper was being censored by censors after it was published. The state-run IRNA news agency admitted that Kelid had been closed, but did not explain the reason for the decision.
On Monday, Kelid could not immediately respond to a request for comment. Their website is offline.
Iran, whose state-dominated economy has long faced trouble since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, has been under increased pressure since former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in 2018.
The Iranian rial is now about 281,500 to the dollar — compared with 32,000 rials for $1 at the time when the 2015 nuclear deal was struck. With U.S. sanctions still strangling the economy, record-breaking inflation has hit ordinary Iranians where it hurts most. Stunned shoppers are cutting meat and dairy from their diets, buying less and less each month.
Although radio and television stations are controlled by the state in Iran, newspapers and magazines can be privately owned and published. However, according to news advocacy groups, Iranian journalists face constant threats of harassment and arrest in the country.