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Ahmadinejad's Media Adviser Briefly Jailed


Former Ahmadinejad Administration Officials, Ali Akbar Javanfekr (R), Hamid Baghei (C), and Habibollah Khorasani, in their gathering in Shahr-e Rey on Saturday November 18, 2017.

Ali Akbar Javanfekr, former hardliner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's media adviser, was briefly jailed Sunday morning August 19, his defense lawyer told reporters in Tehran.

The lawyer said Javanfekr was released after he paid a cash penalty he owed to the Iranian Judiciary.

The payment of a 4.5 million tuman fine was part of his sentence for "spreading lies and insulting Tehran's prosecutor" in an interview in September 2013, which he had refused to pay. He was also sentenced to a six-month imprisonment.

The amount has lost at least two third of its value since Javanfekr's conviction as the Iranian rial has nosedived against the dollar. By open market rates, the fine is now roughly $450.

Javanfekr has accompanied Ahmadinejad in his public protests including a sit-in at a shrine in downtown Tehran.

During Ahmadinejad's presidency, Javanfekr headed the administration-owned newspaper Iran and exerted influence on the official news agency IRNA, using both media outlets in the campaign against Ahmadinejad's political rivals.

Before Ahmadinejad rose to power in 2005, Javanfekr was IRNA's correspondent in New York and for sometime also worked for the news dissemination bureau at the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's office.

Two other Ahmadinejad aides, Vice-President Hamid Reza Baqai and chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, are also in jail and the reason why the Judiciary decided to arrest Javanfekr now, could be relating to Ahmadinejad's renewed moves in criticism of the Islamic Republic.

Ahmadinejad recently asked US President Donald Trump in a tweet to publish the names of Iranian officials' children and close relatives who are US citizens or hold green cards as permanent residents in the United States.

He also wanted to hold a demonstration in Tehran for what he called "responding to US threats against Iran" and " UK intervention in Iranian affairs" in mid-August, but the Interior ministry rejected his application.

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