Ahmadinejad Shuts Down Fars News Agency: UPDATE
On Sunday, June 1, 2008, the Iranian authorities shut down the Fars News Agency. Fars was an influential, conservative and the oldest news agency in Iran.
IRNA, the official News Agency of Iran, quoted an official of Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance as accusing Fars of publishing “lies” and “disturbing public opinion.”
Apparently Fars published a report on upcoming changes in Ahmadinejad’s economic team, including sacking of newly-appointed governor of Central Bank. Ahmadinejad reportedly wanted to force the governor to cut the interest rate that commercial banks charge their customers to 9.5%, amid resistance from the Central Bank due to current high inflation, with a rate twice as high. After pressure from government, Fars deleted the news from its site and published a new report denying that the central bank governor was going to be ousted. Apparently this was not enough. It is now reported that Fars would resume its activities on 5 June.
Inflation is getting out of hand in Iran, partly due to current government policies of converting the petro-dollars into toumans. The government is putting inflation rate at over 18%, with Iran analyst believing it actually exceeds 25%.