Iran blocks former president's website
TEHRAN - The Associated Press
Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani. AP photoThe website of former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani has been blocked after an order from the government, his office confirmed Friday.
Mohammad Hashemi, Rafsanjani's younger brother, told the semiofficial ISNA news agency Friday that a company providing services to the site told Rafsanjani's office that it was ordered to cut it off.
"The company providing services to Ayatollah Rafsanjani's site called and said they've been ordered to cut services to the site. Fifteen minutes later, the site was out of service," ISNA quoted the brother as saying.
Rafsanjani's brother said it was not yet clear which authority ordered the site to be blocked.
Rafsanjani, president from 1989 to 1997, supported opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in the disputed 2009 presidential election that led to re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Since the election, Iran has blocked dozens of opposition websites, including the website of former reformist President Mohammad Khatami. Opposition members believe Ahmadinejad's re-election was fraudulent.
A conservative website accused Rafsanjani's website of seeking to create rifts within the hardline camp ahead of March 12 parliamentary elections.
"Rafsanjani's site is making efforts to create differences among (conservatives)," the website, bibaknews.com, said late Thursday.
Registration of candidates for the election ends Friday. The country's major reformist groups are staying out of the race, claiming that basic requirements for free and fair elections have not been met.
In their absence, the poll for the 290-seat assembly is likely to pit candidates who remain staunchly loyal to the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei against those who support Ahmadinejad.
Whatever the outcome, the vote is unlikely to change Iran's course. The country is a theocracy, and Khamenei has final say on all state matters. His differences with Ahmadinejad are largely a matter of internal politics, not policy.
Rafsanjani is still the head of Expediency Council, a body that advises Khamenei on state matters.