Ahmad Alamolhoda (C) next to Khamnei and President Raisi in a ceremony. Undated

Ahmad Alamolhoda (C) next to Khamnei and President Raisi in a ceremony. Undated

Firebrand Iran Cleric Calls For ‘Summary Trials’ Of Journalists


A firebrand senior cleric, and father-in-law of Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, has called for the “summary trials” of journalists "who echo the ideas of enemies”.

In his Friday Sermon in Mashhad on Friday, Ahmad Alamolhoda, who is a stauch supporter of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, accused some of the media in Iran of taking advantage of “freedom of expression”, aiding the enemies of the Islamic Republic, and trying to obstruct the propagation of Islam.

Meanwhile he called on Iranian journalists to propagate Shiite Islam following orders by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Elsewhere in his speech, Alamolhoda said that "The enemies are using their media arsenal to advocate ignorance and to create chaos that would pave the way for their onslaught."

Alamolhoda said the media are trying to distort reality and while it was the West that withdrew form [the nuclear] deal with Iran, the media affiliated with the enemies are trying to portray the case in a way that would lead to the condemnation of Iran." He added that those who echo the enemy's statements in the press and social media are infiltrators who should be put on trial as the enemy's fifth column."

Iran’s hardliners often regard most criticism about domestic and foreign affairs, as well as defense of social and political rights as incendiary, although media in Iran is tightly controlled and hundreds of journalists have been jailed throughout the 43-year existence of the clerical regime.

Meanwhile, Iran’s state TV and Tasnim news agency were forces to slam another cleric and a member of parliament who tried to deny his controversial remarks that Iranians who do not like Islamic restrictions should leave the country.

The cleric, Seyyed Kazem Mousavi later claimed that he never made those comments, and they were fabrications by the media. However, as a tape containing his remarks was leaked on social media, the state television and Tasnim harshly criticized the cleric for portraying Islam as a fundamentalist religion that cannot tolerate modern lifestyle.

A commentator at the state TV lashed out at Mousavi and said" "Who are you to decide about whether people are or are not allowed to live in Iran. This is everybody's home, and they should live here as they like."

According to Aftab News, a moderate conservative website in Iran, Mousavi still owes an apology to Iranian journalists, adding that it is becoming a common practice among Iranian officials to attribute their own comments to the media as soon as they realize what they have said was controversial and counterproductive. "This undermines conservative politician's ethical values and is not a practice consistent with religious ethics by any standard."

The website reminded Mousavi that exposing the hypocritical behavior of politicians is one of the reasons why media exist. The website added that it was easy in the past for politicians like Mousavi to deny what they have actually said or done, and it was difficult for reporters to tell the truth to the public. But nowadays, journalists can always publish a recording of the politician's statement on social media to prove their case.

However, Aftab News added that still, some politicians try to get away with the consequences of their controversial statements or behavior claiming that they made the comment during an off-the-recordprivate conversation.

To provide an example, Aftab New shied away from quoting politicians, and brought an example about an Iranian filmmaker who called film critics idiots during a conversation with several journalist. He even insisted that reporters may quote him on that. However, when his comment became controversial, he criticized several reporters for having fabricated the comment. The website reminded that "Actual quotations remain for a long time while denials are short-lived."

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