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Wednesday, July 23, 2014  

Nejad criticises pressure to impose values
TEHERAN Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has again spoken out against the use of pressure to impose Islamic values on people, especially university candidates, media reported on Monday.

“You cannot impose things by issuing decrees and directives, a choice imposed by force has no value whatsoever,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech on Sunday.

“In some universities, female students are forced to wear the chador (covering the whole body, leaving only the face exposed), but the way they are forced to wear it... it is better not worn since it becomes worthless,” he said.

He also criticised the criteria on the selection of university candidates, citing the case of a student denied university admittance in the 1980s because he had shaved.

Ahmadinejad also said another case of a girl refused a university place because she had “talked to a boy in the street and had her headscarf back an inch,” thereby showing her hair.

He said that after he intervened in both cases they were granted places.

Ahmadinejad also denounced some of the questions posed to candidates during interviews for government jobs.

Ahmadinejad, whose second and final presidential term ends in 2013, has repeatedly drawn the ire of ultra-conservative religious figures in the Islamic republic by advocating a more liberal view of Islam, criticising in particular the use of force to compel women to cover their hair.

Separately, Iran’s leading reformist daily newspaper, Shargh (East), reappeared on news stands on Monday three months after being banned by the country’s media watchdog.

It was shut down in September after publishing a satirical cartoon seen by the authorities as insulting to war veterans.

The cartoon depicted a line of men blinded by headbands slipped over their eyes leading each other, which might have been reminiscent of the headbands worn by soldiers during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

Shargh was found “not guilty” in a press court in Teheran last week, according to its director Mehdi Rahmanian.

The daily’s closure created a stir even among conservatives, with Ahmadinejad publicly criticising Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Mohammad Hosseini over the ban. Monday’s edition ran a large half-page picture of the iconic Azadi (Freedom) Square on its front page with the headline “Hello my Iran.”

Shargh is among the country’s half a dozen reformist dailies, including Bahar (Spring) daily which has also resumed publishing after being banned for years.

Iran’s press watchdog has banned several publications, mostly reformist journals, for breaching its strict regulations since Ahmadinejad’s disputed 2009 re-election.

Dozens of journalists are in prison, according to international rights groups.

Shargh has been closed several times in the past. In 2010 it reopened after a three-year ban for publishing an interview with an expatriate poet suspected of being a lesbian.

Agencies
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