Dozens of journalists were arrested during the government crackdown that followed the 2009 elections
Iran\'s hardline press watchdog allowed the reformist Etemad newspaper to return to the newsstands on Saturday after a 15-month ban on the leading daily.
The paper\'s managing director and
licence holder, reformist former MP Elias Hazrati, wrote in the comeback edition that the banning of his paper had been out of \"stubbornness.\"
He vowed to continue to \"serve the regime and the national interest.\"
The press watchdog banned Etemad (Confidence) in March 2010 citing \"repeated and persistent violations.\"
Hazrati, who was a member of the reformist-dominated parliament of 2000-2004 said: \"I pursued the case and a fair judge -- a rarity in the judiciary -- ordered that the paper be cleared for renewed publication.\"
Saturday\'s edition carried a short message on its front page from reformist former president Mohammad Khatami.
\"We thank God that we are witnessing the dawn of Etemad again and let\'s hope it will keep its word to correctly inform the people as it did before,\" he said.
In 2009, Etemad angered conseratives by publishing remarks by Khatami in which he said that Iran was facing a \"crisis\" following the controversial re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Reformist newspapers flourished during Khatami\'s 1997-2005 presidency, but the press watchdog has since closed most titles down.
Dozens of journalists working for reformist publications have also been jailed following the government\'s crackdown on the mass street protests that followed the June 2009 presidential election, which Ahmadinejad\'s reformist challengers charged was rigged.
It is not only reformist titles that have fallen foul of the press watchdog.
On June 13, a weekly called Dey 9 (the Persian calendar date of a major pro-government rally on December 30, 2009), which is run by an MP close to Ahmadinejad, was banned after it published a cartoon of Khatami.
The former president is a cleric and caricatures involving the clergy are frowned upon in the Islamic republic.
\"The publication was banned for publishing economic news, contrary to its permission, and also for publishing an unethical cartoon,\" the watchdog said.