A newspaper close to former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been closed down for publishing an article the authorities said was sympathetic to Israel, the official IRNA news agency reported on Wednesday.
The moderate daily Kargozaran is regarded as close to Rafsanjani, who was defeated by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2005 presidential election.
"The reason for the closure of the newspaper is because it published an article yesterday in which it sanitized the Zionist regime's crimes in Gaza," Mohammad Parvizi of the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry told IRNA. He did not say when the ban would take effect. The newspaper appeared on newsstands on Wednesday.
Editor Mehran Karami said the government order to close the paper came up Wednesday. It said the move followed the publishing of a reformist student group statement saying Hamas is to blame for Israel's assault.
Karami says the statement condemned Israeli attacks but also called Hamas a terrorist organization hiding in schools and thus drawing civilian casualties.
Israel's air attacks on the Gaza Strip have prompted protests in Iran, mainly by students who accuse Arab and Western countries of doing too little to stop the Israeli action. Iranian officials have also condemned what they say is international inaction.
Kargozaran is the latest publication critical of Ahmadinejad's government to be shut down by the authorities. A prominent pre-reform weekly magazine, Shahrvand-e Emrouz, was closed in November.
Some political analysts say closures are aimed at stifling dissent, although the government says it welcomes constructive criticism and says it upholds the principle of free speech.
Parvizi said the Kargozaran article had suggested some supporters of the Palestinians were a "terrorist group" and said Palestinians who sheltered in kindergartens and hospitals "caused the bombings and killing of children and civilians".
Managing five older employees throughout the process bore a potential risk to my authority. To ensure they remain on my side and committed, I made an effort to connect to them on a friendly basis and show them give their opinions great weight. Throughout the entire process, I was happy to see that my team was very cooperative and highly motivated.