Iran orders the closure of a pro-reform newspaper

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian media are reporting that the country’s General Prosecutor has ordered the closure of a reformist newspaper on charges of insulting the Shiite religion.

The Friday reports say that the “Sedayeh Eslahat” newspaper was ordered shut down for publishing an article on female-to-male gender reassignment surgery. The prosecutor, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, ordered the editor be punished, too, the reports said.

On Thursday, a headline on the newspaper’s front page read: “Ruqayyah became Mahdi after 22 years.”

Ruqayyah was the daughter of Hussein, a Shiite Imam, and the article was published during Mu?arram, a holiday in which Shiite Muslims mourn the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad.

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According to Shiite beliefs, Mahdi is the name of the 12th Shiite Imam who has lived since the 9th century.

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