Khabar Online, a website linked to Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, has been charged by the judiciary — led by Larijani’s brother Sadegh — with “provoking public anxiety” by publishing an article about corruption in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
The Deputy Prosecutor General said that the Cyber Crimes Supervisory Committee has acted “very leniently” by merely giving a warning to the site.
The dispute comes amid political manoeuvring between the Rouhani Government and the Revolutionary Guards over the IRGC’s expanding interests in the Iranian economy.
Last week’s article interpreted recent statements by Rouhani on corruption within the Iranian system as a reference to the Guards. It criticized the IRGC’s interference in economic, social, political, and media affairs, warning about intervention in forthcoming elections for the Assembly of Experts and Parliament.
Hardline sites denounced Khabar Online for the article. Mohammad Esmail Kowsari, a member of Parliament’s National Security Commission, called for an investigation by the judiciary and armed forces and warned that the incident could spark a “dangerous sedition”.
Khabar retreated by withdrawing the article, apologizing, and saying it was posted on a blog which is not directly monitored by the editors.
However, the political battle appears set to continue: on Tuesday, Rouhani used a speech in southern Iran to declare that the Government will “by no means” back down in its campaign against corruption.