When Iran’s most important liberal newspaper Sharg ran an interview with Iranian-Canadian Saghi Ghaharaman, it did not foresee the consequences. The Tehran government shut the paper down. Why? According to Alireza Malekian, an official with the government’s “culture” ministry, the punishment was for “an interview with a counter-revolutionary who promotes immorality.”
Ghahraman, a poet who fled Iran following the takeover of her country by the mullahs, is also a lesbian activist who edits a Farsi-language gay website. The offending interview was for the most part on literary themes, but in it she also spoke in favor of the right to “choose one’s own identity, and one’s own sexual identity.” From Malekian’s comment, it appears that simply interviewing her was enough to warrant the shut-down. As far as the Iranian government is concerned, she is now an un-person.