Saturday, January 08, 2005

Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad appointed mayor brings changes at Hamshahri

: "Head of Iran's largest daily quits after conservatives win Tehran city hall

TEHRAN, May 4 (AFP) - The pro-reform director of Iran's biggest-selling daily newspaper and official organ of Tehran's municipality has stepped down following the appointment of a conservative as the city's new mayor, press reports said Sunday.

Mohammad Atrianfar, who had headed Hamshahri (Fellow Citizen) since it was founded a decade ago and was a major backer of reformist President Mohammed Khatami, explained that he wanted to "leave the new mayor with a free hand to choose a director" of the paper.

Tehran had been governed by reformists since 1989, but a conservative city council was elected in the February 28 municipal
polls in a result attributed to a meager turnout amid growing public disillusionment with electoral politics.

Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad, reported to be a hardliner among conservatives, was appointed mayor on Saturday and a change in Hamshahri's management -- as well as its editorial line -- has been considered inevitable given the election result.

Founded by former mayor Gholamhossein Karbaschi, Hamshahri was quick to become Iran's biggest-selling daily with a circulation of 450,000. It also built up healthy finances, carrying scores of pages of private advertisements daily."