Iranian reformist magazine shuttered after urging talks with US
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Iranian reformist magazine shuttered after urging talks with US

Seda weekly called for regime to engage diplomatically with Washington to defuse tensions and stave off risk of ‘widespread war’

The front cover of the May 11, 2019 edition of the Iranian weekly reformist magazine, Seda, center, is photographed along with other periodicals in Tehran, Iran, May 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
The front cover of the May 11, 2019 edition of the Iranian weekly reformist magazine, Seda, center, is photographed along with other periodicals in Tehran, Iran, May 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian authorities shut down a reformist magazine that had urged negotiations with the United States, local media reported Sunday.

The weekly magazine Seda was handed a suspension order Saturday by a court in Tehran, the reformist newspaper Arman reported.

Seda’s most recent front page had shown a US aircraft carrier fleet and the caption “At the crossroads between war and peace.”

The magazine called for “high-level engagement” between the US and Iran, warning that closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz, an occasional Iranian threat, would lead to “widespread war.”

A third of all oil traded by sea passes through the strait, which lies at the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf.

In this May 9, 2019 photo released by the US Navy, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln transits the Suez Canal in Egypt. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Dan Snow, US Navy via AP)

Recent US military deployments to the Persian Gulf, including an aircraft carrier strike group, which came after Western intelligence agencies reportedly concluded Iran was considering strikes against US assets and allies in the region, have raised tensions with Iran. Tehran has also begun setting its own deadlines over its unraveling nuclear deal that US President Donald Trump pulled America out of a year ago.

The hard-line Iranian newspaper Kayhan criticized Seda’s reporting as parroting the “voice of Trump through the mouths of reformists.”

Also Sunday, Iran’s parliament held a closed session to discuss recent developments in the Persian Gulf, state TV reported. The head of the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Gen. Hossein Salami, spoke about the increased US military presence, but the broadcast did not give specific details.

After the session, a prominent lawmaker said Salami had assured parliament that Iran’s military is strong enough to deter any US threats, which Salami called “psychological warfare.”

Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, who heads the influential parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, told the official IRNA news agency that Iran isn’t looking to deepen the crisis. He said the US position will weaken with time, and that there are currently no grounds for negotiations with Washington.

IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami. (YouTube screen capture)

On Friday, Iran rejected a request by Trump for talks, after the president said he’d like Iranian leaders to “call me.”

John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, announced the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and its strike group on May 5 over “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” that still have not been specified. Iran’s Shiite theocracy views the presence of US forces in the region with suspicion, while the US views Iran’s arming and training of forces and proxies throughout the Middle East as a destabilizing force in the region.

The US re-imposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

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