Ali Akbar Javanfekr

Ali Akbar Javanfekr

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Ali Akbar Javanfekr is a senior Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian politician and the presidential advisor for press affairs and as of 19 December 2010, He was Managing-Director of IRNA from 1 November 2010 until being sentenced to a year in prison on charges of "publishing materials contrary to Islamic norms," 20 November 2011.

Career


As chief executive of the official Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamic Republic News Agency
The Islamic Republic News Agency , or IRNA, is the official news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is government-funded and controlled under the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. The agency also publishes the newspaper Iran. , the Managing Director of IRNA is Ali Akbar...

 (IRNA), Javanfekr was reportedly "one of the most powerful figures in publicizing Iran’s government policies and messages to the outside world". In December 2010 he led a delegation to Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 to discuss the use of media in reducing extremism. In March 2009, as an aide to president Ahmadinejad, he urged the US "to end sanctions and drop its support for Israel."

Arrest and case


On 20 November 2011 Javanfekr was sentenced to a year in jail and suspended from journalism for three years for "publishing materials contrary to Islamic norms", questioning the Islamic Republic's compulsory dress code for women. Javanfekr had been put on trial after the publication of a series of articles about the chador
Chador
A chādor or chādar is an outer garment or open cloak worn by many Iranian women and female teenagers in public spaces. Wearing this garment is one possible way in which a Muslim woman can follow the Islamic dress code known as ḥijāb. A chador is a full-body-length semicircle of fabric that is...

, a traditional hijab
Hijab
The word "hijab" or "'" refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general....

 garment that covers Iranian women from head to toe. In one article, Ahmadinejad's former media adviser, Mehdi Kalhor, "criticised the black colour of Iranian chadors, saying they did not originate from the Persian culture but were rather imported from the west."

He has a "few weeks" to appeal the sentence and is expected to do so.

On 21 November 2011 he was handcuffed in a raid on his office in Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

 in which tear gas was used. At least 32 other people were also arrested. He was later released

In a statement to IRNA Javanfekr complained
"They arrested some of our reporters and took them away and hit one of my colleagues with an electric baton. My colleagues were traumatised, some of them were hurt … I'm a representative of the government and the president's adviser … If they had summoned me, I would have gone to them. They did not need to do these kind of actions."


His arrest "appears" to be as a result of the court ruling, but according to the New York Times, may be in retaliation for an interview given by Javanfekr to the reformist newspaper Etemad, 19 November "in which he disparaged" some of Pres. Ahmadinejad’s "conservative rivals. In response to interview questions about "the recent power struggle, Javanfekr said the president has come `to serve the people` and `will stay till the end, till martyrdom`". Etemad was immediately ordered closed for two months for `disseminating lies and insults to officials in the establishment.`"

Javanfekr is reportedly one of "dozens of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's political backers to be targeted by hard-line opponents." He has also been called "one of the few who have stood firm behind Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the president's power struggle with conservatives." According to the AP news service, his arrest "appears to be part of an internal power struggle over influencing upcoming elections for parliament", slated for March 2012.

See also