Reformist newspaper Aftab-e Yazd (Yazd’s Sunshine) began as a regional paper in the Yazd Province and went national in September 2000. It is affiliated with the reformist Iranian political party Association of Combatant Clerics and former President Mohammad Khatami’s aides. After severe reformist press crackdowns beginning in April 2000, only two reformist publications, Aftab-e Yazd and Hayat-e No (New Life), survived. Aftab-e Yazd’s staff was mostly pooled from two publications, Salam (Hello) and Bayan (Expression), which closed in 1999 and 2000 respectively.
In 2005 and 2009, the paper endorsed Mehdi Karroubi, who was considered an advisor to the paper, as a presidential nominee. Aftab-e Yazd’s first editor in chief, Mojtaba Vahedi, served as a senior advisor to Mehdi Karroubi from 1982-1987 and the newspaper’s first editorial defended Karroubi’s September 2000 visit to New York, when he met with members of the US Congress, including two that were Jewish, outraging hardliners.
Friction between Aftab-e Yazd and Iran’s cultural authorities still exists. In December 2009 the paper received a written warning from Iran’s Ministry of Culture after Aftab-e Yazd published a headline reading “Preventing Khatami’s speech, spontaneous or…?!.” The editorial openly criticized government-affiliated news sites for their skewed version of events surrounding President Khatami's speech.
Aftab-e Yazd’s first editor in chief Mojtaba Vahedi resigned in January 2010 to prevent the newspaper’s closure after very public criticism from the Deputy Culture Minister of Press Mohammad Ali Ramin on IRIB’s channel two.
Aftab-e Yazd is currently in publication under Mansour Mozafari, Vahedi’s replacement as editor in chief.