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Iran Pres. Calls for Freedom of Speech 05/03 06:20

   TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has rallied for more 
freedom of speech in his country, saying government critics should not be 
imprisoned.

   Rouhani says that "critics should not be detained, critics should not be 
sent to jail." He spoke at the annual Tehran International Book Fair on Tuesday.

   The remarks, which underscored Rouhani's 2013 election promises of reform in 
Iran, came after weekend parliamentary runoff elections in which a 
moderate-reformist bloc supporting the president secured the biggest faction of 
seats in the 290-seat chamber.

   But Rouhani also assailed those whose texts involve "lying, blaming and 
weakening the power of the nation."

   In April, Iran's judiciary sentenced four pro-reform journalists to prison 
terms ranging from 5 to 10 years after convicting them on charges of acting 
against national security.


(KA)

 
 
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