Bahrain shut down its oldest daily newspaper for "violating the country's press code," the official news agency reported Monday, a day after the paper published a report that suggested Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was Jewish.
The paper, Akhbar Al-Khaleej, or "Gulf News," was shut down as it was about to to print late Sunday night and is to remain shut until further notice, a note on the paper's website explained.
The official BNA news agency carried the same notice but did not elaborate on the nature of the violation and the reasons behind the abrupt closure were unclear.
The AFP news agency reported that staff at the newspaper said the action followed the publication on Sunday of an article on Iran in which a female member of Bahrain's Consultative Council, Samira Rajab, came down hard on the Iranian government and suggested that Ahmadinejad was Jewish.
"Islamic Republic -- Popular Fury," an opinion piece by Rajab, was a harsh critique of the current events taking place in Iran, which is facing the worst unrest since the 1979 revolution due to disputed election results, and discussed a live debate that took place between the incumbent and his reformist challenger Mehdi Karroubi.
Rajab wrote: "In a televised live debate between Mehdi Karroubi and Ahmadinejad, Karroubi took a jab at Ahmadinejad's origins and said 'my full name is Mehdi so and so Karroubi' so what is your full name?'"
Rajab went on to write that Ahmadinejad stated his name but failed to mention his "real" surname "which all Iranians know to be Jewish and that is what Karroubi was trying to get at."
The question of Ahmadinejad's origins have been raised before by the son of one of the republic's conservative Ayatollahs, Mehdi Khazali, who wrote on his website that the president had changed his family name form the originally Jewsih name Saborjhian.
British newspaper the Guardian also reported that this family had changed its name for "a mixture of religious and economic reasons."