x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Bahrain suspends newspaper

An allegation against the Iranian president has led to the closure of Bahrain's oldest newspaper.

MANAMA // Bahrain's ministry of culture and information authorities late on Sunday night issued an administrative order suspending the publication of the daily Arabic newspaper Akhbar AlKhaleej, less than 24 hours after the paper published a highly critical column on the Iranian regime. The decision, which places the paper on indefinite suspension for violating the press and publication laws, went into effect immediately, with the paper being barred from printing it edition yesterday, according to the newspaper's web site. While the suspension order that was also published by Bahrain News Agency did not clearly state the nature of the violation, multiple sources confirmed that the action was prompted after Iranian embassy officials complained about a column published on Sunday in which the author accused the Iranian regime of being a dictatorship, blood-thirsty, oppressive and deceptive, among other things. The author of the article, Sameera Rajab, is a controversial contributor to the paper and an appointed member of the of Shura Council (Consultative) known for her support of Saddam Hussain as well as her adamant opposition to Iran's Islamic form of government. Last February, Bahraini-Iranian negotiations to import Iranian gas were halted, and Iranian shipping vessels were barred from entering Bahrain, after an Iranian official described the Gulf island as historically Iran's 14th governorate. mmahdi@thenational.ae