|Political alignment||Pro-Constitution, Principalist, Conservative|
|Circulation||350,000 (2008) |
Kayhan (Persian: کيهان, English: universe) is an influential newspaper in Iran. Directly under the supervision of the Office of the Supreme Leader, it is considered "the most conservative Iranian newspaper."
Its 2007 circulation was about 70,000, with about 1,000 employees worldwide. Kayhan also publishes special foreign editions, which include the English-language Kayhan International. Its circulation in 2008 is estimated to be 350,000.
Kayhan was founded in February 1943 by owner Abdul-Rahman Faramarzi and Mostafa Mesbahzadeh as editor-in-chief. Later the roles of Faramarzi and Mesbahzadeh were reversed. Published in Iran as well as in London, the newspaper had a circulation greater than one-million prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
After the overthrow of the Shah all of Mesbahzadeh's assets were seized, including the publishing plant, which was the main headquarters of the daily. In May 1980, Ayatollah Khomenei named Ebrahim Yazdi, then foreign minister, as head of the daily. Under the guidance of Mesbahzadeh, the London office of Kayhan continued its work and publishes a monarchist weekly issue known as Kayhan London, which has a small circulation. In 2006, Mesbahzadeh died at the age of 98 in Los Angeles, California.
Kayhan openly supports the Iranian government and the policies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Shariatmadari stated that the newspaper and its staff "defend the ideology of the Islamic Revolution." Gareth Smyth, the former Iran correspondent of the Financial Times, contends that Kayhan articulates the political views of the "regime's fundamentalist camp." The New York Times correspondent Michael Slackman writes that the newspaper "offers insight into the most extreme views of Iran’s leaders and into the mind-set and plans of those who are at the center of power." A former editor of Kayhan, Mahmoud Shamsolvaezin, a "reformist" and a staunch anti government activist, states, "The truth is, Kayhan is an intelligence newspaper." That is the standard rebuke offered by the reformist camp, which increasingly includes various extremist and opposition groups like the People's Mujahedin of Iran and various monarchist and separatist groups like Pejak and Koumaleh and Jondollah.
Shariatmadari rejects the labels "conservative" and "fundamentalist", saying "They make us sound like the Taliban." Instead, he calls himself and those with similar views "principalists." Principalists is also the name of the majority faction of the Iranian Parliament. This group is also referred to as "neo-principalists" and includes such figures as Gholamali Haddad Adel and Saeed Jalili among the others. In fact, the daily is the print media outlet of the group.
The newspaper became controversial in 2010 for iterating an unequivocal condemnation of then French First Lady Carla Bruni for her open letter to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who is currently facing death by hanging for alleged murder; the newspaper called Bruni an "Italian prostitute" and "the singer and decadent actress who managed to break [up] the Sarkozy family" who "deserves to die" for her "perverted lifestyle", reiterating the striking similarities between Ashtiani and Carla Bruni, and also condemned actress Isabelle Adjani as a prostitute. The French foreign ministry condemned the comments as "unacceptable" and summoned the Iranian ambassador to France; the Iranian foreign ministry sought to distance itself from Kayhan's comments, with spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast stating that "The media can properly criticize the wrong and hostile policies of other countries by refraining from using insulting words. This is not correct."
- "Notable Middle Eastern". The NYU Review of Law and Security (8-9). 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
- Shapour Ghasemi (2006). "Kayhan Newspaper". Iran Chamber Society. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
- Michael Slackman (22 September 2007). "Freed by Revolution, He Speaks for Iran’s Hard-Liners". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
- "Khomenei's hard-liners triumph". The Spokesman Review. AP. May 1980. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
- Steve Inskeep (5 February 2009). "Editor Upholds Ideology of Iran's Islamic Revolution". NPR. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
- Gareth Smyth (2006). "Fundamentalists, Pragmatists, and the Rights of the Nation: Iranian Politics and Nuclear Confrontation". The Century Foundation. p. 7. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
- Sabet, Farzan (June 2013). "The Islamic Republic's political elite and Syria" (Special Report). IranPolitik: The Iran Political Analysis Project. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
- Thomas Erdbrink (31 August 2010). "Iranian newspaper reiterates derogatory remarks about French first lady". The Washington Post.
- Robert Mackey (31 August 2010). "Iranian Newspaper Says Carla Bruni-Sarkozy ‘Deserves to Die’ for Objecting to Stoning". New York Times.