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Iran's news agency gets new chief

Jan. 8, 2013 at 9:50 AM

TEHRAN, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The Iranian culture minister announced the appointment of a new director of the official news agency, replacing a former presidential adviser.

Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Hosseini issued a directive that appoints Majid Omid Shahraki as managing director of the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

IRNA reported that Shahraki served as the director general for political and security affairs in the office of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He replaced Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a former press adviser for the president.

Javanfekr was arrested in September and charged with publishing remarks viewed as contrary to Islamic principles. He was barred from media activities for three years.

Javanfekr was also arrested in 2011 but freed after Ahmadinejad intervened. The Ahmadinejad administration has previously run afoul of the conservative clerical elite.

Iran is to have presidential elections in June. Ahmadinejad is ineligible to compete because of term limits. Elections in 2009 were followed by unrest after a disputed victory for Ahmadinejad.

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