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Ahmadinejad Aide Replaced as Head of Iran News Agency

A top aide to President Ahmadinejad who has been imprisoned since Sept. was replaced as head of Iran's state Islamic Republic News Agency.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 1/8/2013, 1:43 AM

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Flash 90

A top aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has been imprisoned since September was replaced on Monday as the head of Iran's state Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Iranian news agencies reported.

Ali Akbar Javanfekr, who is being held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison, was succeeded by another Ahmadinejad advisor, Majid Omidi Shahraki, who led the president's Political and Security Affairs office, AFP reported, citing Iranian news outlets.

Javanfekr was arrested on September 26, as Ahmadinejad was giving a speech in New York at the UN General Assembly, and is serving a six-month jail term in Evin prison.

He has been convicted of publishing material deemed offensive to Islamic codes and public morality by allowing one of the state newspapers under his control to run articles questioning Iran's strict Islamic dress code for women.

Javanfekr and other Ahmadinejad aides have long been targets for Iran's hardline judges and ultra-conservative lawmakers who see them as attempting to undermine religious principles.

Ahmadinejad became locked in a public row with judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani over acquiring access to Evin prison. After being barred from the prison multiple times, Ahmadinejad was eventually granted access to see Javanfekr last month when the aide was briefly hospitalized for what reports said was a "heart condition".

Omidi Shahraki is the fifth IRNA head to be named since Ahmadinejad took power in 2005, AFP reported.