World News

Iranian journalist sentenced to jail for spreading propaganda

DUBAI (Reuters) - An Iranian journalist and political activist said on Wednesday she had been sentenced to one year in jail after being found guilty of spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic.

Reyhaneh Tabatabaei, 35, told Reuters her lawyer was informed on Tuesday of the sentence, which also included a two-year ban on joining political parties and writing for any newspaper or website.

It came a day after authorities arrested a cartoonist and sent him to prison to complete a suspended jail sentence, the latest in a series detentions of journalists, artists and activists.

Tabatabaei had been arrested twice in the last five years and had spent almost six months in Evin prison, two months of it in solitary confinement. Her last hearing in the Islamic Revolutionary Court was in November last year.

No specific article was mentioned in court but Tabatabaei, who had interviewed one of the most prominent Sunni leaders in mainly Shi’ite Iran, was accused of “promoting sectarian division”.

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps has rounded up several artists, journalists and U.S. citizens as part of a crackdown on what it has called Western infiltration. Last week, it arrested the administrators of more than 20 groups on the mobile messaging app Telegram.

Their campaign coincides with Iran beginning the implementation of a nuclear deal signed with world powers in July, which hardliners oppose for fear it will open up Iranian society to what they see as corrupting Western influences.

Most of the journalists arrested in recent weeks work for media that support moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

Iran will hold a parliamentary election in February 2016.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Dominic Evans