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There are 9 messages totalling 674 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. AFP-Hajarian attack suspect linked to previous shooting
2. IPS-Mr. Hajjarian's slayer belongs to the Revolutionary guards
3. AFP-Reformist press hits at news black-out on Hajjarian affair
4. Aziz slams Albright over Iran-Iraq war remarks
5. Iran reformers rap probe of reformist's shooting
6. IRNA:Iranian Azarakhsh fighter may be scaled-up F-5f
7. hajjarian-physicians
8. The Threat to Reform
9. IPS: Leader openly disobeyed, Revolutionary guards ikely to be purged

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 09:18:23 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: AFP-Hajarian attack suspect linked to previous shooting

TEHRAN, March 22 (AFP) - The man held over the attempted murder of
reformist leader Said Hajarian has confessed and been linked to an
earlier, fatal shooting, the official Iranian media reported Wednesday,
quoting an intelligence ministry source.

The latest allegations came after two reformist dailies, including
Hajarian's own, accused the government of imposing a black-out on anything
but official reports on the assassination bid against Hajarian.

Television and radio reports quoted an unnamed senior intelligence
ministry official as saying that Said Ashgar had confessed to the attack.

Ashgar was also responsible for the murder of a former worker with a
charity set up by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic republic's
first religious leader, said the official.

"Said Ashgar shot dead Ghassem Shafi, a former employee of Khomeini's aid
committee," he said, revealing no further details of that murder.

Hajarian had been hit by a bullet from a Makarov pistol, which had been
illegally acquired, said the official.

The high-powered motorbike used in the getaway after the shooting belonged
to someone else, who did not have authorisation to own it, the official
added.

On Tuesday, the official Iranian news agency IRNA had said Ashgar was the
owner of the bike, which was of a kind restricted here to government
agencies.

Hajarian, 47, was shot March 12 in central Tehran by two men on a
motorbike and is still in a serious condition in a Tehran hospital.

Asghar was on Tuesday identified as a chemistry student at the Free
Islamic University (FMU), a private school founded in the aftermath of the
1979 revolution by Khomeini.

FMU is currently headed by Abdollah Jasbi, an influential figure among
Iranian conservatives, and its student body tends to come from well-heeled
families.

But the latest official reports came as reformist papers denounced the
restrictions imposed on their coverage of the politically charged case.

"Official sources have banned the national media from publishing
unofficial news. For this reason today newpapers were unable to publish
solid, but unofficial news," said Sobh-e Emruz, Hajarian's paper.

Hajarian's attackers had formerly belong to "an organisation," Sobh-e
Emruz said, without elaborating.

On Tuesday, the same daily denounced the existence of a murderous "shadow
government" holding real power in the nation, saying it must be destroyed
in order to "enhance the image and the prestige of the Islamic Republic."

Mosharekat, the official paper of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation
Front (IIPF) which won February's parliamentary elections, also criticised
the news black-out.

The restrictions were imposed by the National Security Council, which is
dependent on the interior ministry.

In the run-up to the elections Hajarian used Sobh-e Emruz to suggest links
between the conservatives and the murder of several dissident
intellectuals in

On Monday, President Mohammad Khatami issued a directive calling for a
speedier inquiry into the attempt on the life of his ally.

Hajarian is a key player in the IIPF, the largest pro-reform party which
is headed by Khatami's brother Mohammad-Reza and led the reformist surge
to victory in the February polls.

Iranian television Wednesday quoted doctors treating Hajarian condition as
saying his condition was improving, with his use of an artificial
respirator down to a minimum.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 09:31:35 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IPS-Mr. Hajjarian's slayer belongs to the Revolutionary guards

TEHERAN-LONDON 21 March (IPS) Mr. Sa'id Asgar, a chemistry student from
the Islamic Azaad University in Tehran was identified Tuesday as the man
who shot Mr. Sa'id Hajjarian, the Publisher of the reformist daily "Sobe
Emrouz" (This Morning) and a close adviser and friend to President
Mohammad Khatami nine days ago, according to the official news agency
IRNA.
The identification of Mr. Hajjarian's alleged slayer came less than 24
hours after President Mohammad Khatami, acting on a surprising demand from
Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, had urged Information and Interior ministries as
well as the Supreme Council on National Security (SCNS) to "speed up"
their efforts to arrest the terrorist, and hours after the Head of Tehran
Province Courts, Hojjatoleslam Abbasali Alizadeh, had announced the arrest
of six people, including the alleged killer.

"Following the arrest of six people involved in assassination attempt on
life of municipal Councillor Sa'id Hajjarian, the Special Research Team
(SRT) at Information Ministry in charge of dealing with the case had
entered new phase of activity and arrested Sa'id Asgar, a student of
chemistry at Islamic Azad University, Tehran branch, as the "slayer" of
Mr. Hajjarian", IRNA reported.

As usual, the statement failed to say when and where and under which
circumstances the arrests took place.

However, Iran Press Service has learned from informed sources in Tehran
that Mr. Asgar as well as the five other persons, also unidentified, who
were arrested belong to a unit of the Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards)
stationed in Shahr Rey, near Tehran.

"The official (from the SRT) said the culprit had claimed that the
motorcycle he employed for the terrorist act had been private.
Complementary research is underway to make sure that the confession of the
slayer tallied with those of his accomplices, and were truthful", he
added, re-extended his appreciation to the security, intelligence and
disciplinary organs as well as the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)
and people for their efforts leading to the arrest of the main suspects in
the case.

But the secretariat of the SCNS in a communiqué issued Monday evening had
confirmed that the "main culprit has admitted to the murder attempt".

According to Mr. Alizadeh , the person who has shot Mr. Hajjarian and also
the other one accompanying him riding a motorcycle on the scene of the
shooting as well as others who have been covering the killing attempt have
been arrested, adding that the culprits are now in the hands of the
ministry of information.

He also said that the information ministry is also in possession of a
letter presented to Mr. Hajjarian on the scene of the assassination in a
bid to stop him while walking into the city council building and also the
motorcycle used in the assassination attempt.

Though in his "directive" to the "authoritative organs" Mr. Khatami had
charged Mr. Ebad of the SCNS to provide the mass media necessary notices
regarding the case of Mr. Hajjarian, observers and analysts were totally
confused by information distilled to the press from different sources,
most of them unidentified.

Asked by IPS to explain this confusing situation and the reasons behind
the authorities in charge of Mr. Hajjarian's case to continue the same old
policy of "drop by drop" distillation of information, one informed
political analyst close to the reformists said "You should know that there
are several organisations in this country that operates in parallel and
often clashes with each other, with most of them out of the Government's
control and others even not known by this President", the source noted.

According to this source, while the Government and some investigative
journalists had discovered that the alleged gang that attempted on the
life of Mr. Hajjarian's belonged to the Pasdaran, Ayatollah Khameneh'i, on
explicit demand from the conservatives, took over himself to impose a
black out on that part of the information, hence his sudden call on the
President to "speed up" efforts in finding Mr. Hajjarian's attackers.

In his letter to the President (a "verbal communication", according to Mr.
Khatami) Mr. Khameneh'i expressed "concern" over the security situation of
the nation and singling out the "unfounded accusations from some pens and
tongues actively busy with creating confusion and spreading rumours, going
as far as naming, attacking and questioning some highly trusted persons
and organs like the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij (voluntary force)",
he observed "how in such a volatile situation the judicial and security
organs could respond calmly to their responsibility?"

"Since the result of these noisy rumour mongering and creating confusion
is nothing but allowing criminal elements to work quietly and far from the
eyes of laws, I'm not optimistic concerning those who sew confusion and
fan this charged atmosphere", the badly lamed and weakened leader told the
President.

"In other words, Mr. Khameneh'i endorses the warning delivered to the
independent press a year ago by the Commander of Revolutionary Guards
General Yahya Rahim-Safavi telling them he would cut their tongue, arms
and feet if they continue to push with their investigations and their
freedom", the analyst observed.

In fact, at the same moment that authorities announced the arrest of Mr.
Asgar, the secretariat of the SCNS warned the media against publishing
"unconfirmed rumours, wild guesses, and slanted and hostile analyses in
their coverage of the news of the attempt against Hajjarian's life, of his
slayer and of other people arrested in same connection.

Meanwhile, an Iranian specialist revealed Tuesday that the bullet that was
shot at close range at Mr. Hajjarian had in fact damaged his spinal cord.

It was assumed until now that the bullet that entered his head from the
left cheek had not damaged the patient's vital nervous cords.

In an interview with the Persian service of the BBC, Dr. Jamshid
Qahremani-Qajar said however it will take at least six months before one
could say with certainty how badly the system had been damaged, if there
is an important one.

He said nevertheless he is generally optimistic about Mr. Hajjarian since
he shows positive responses and obeys to doctors commands.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 09:38:24 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: AFP-Reformist press hits at news black-out on Hajjarian affair

TEHRAN, March 22 (AFP) - The Iranian government has imposed a black-out on
news on the assassination attempt against reformist politician Said
Hajarian, two reformist dailies, including Hajarian's own, said Wednesday.
"Official sources have banned the national media from publishing
unofficial news. For this reason today newpapers were unable to publish
solid, but unofficial news," Sobh-e Emruz, Hajarian's paper, said.

Hajarian, 47, was shot March 12 in central Tehran by two men on a
motorbike and is still in a serious condition in a Tehran hospital.

The arrest of his attackers was announced Sunday and the official IRNA
news agency Tuesday named one of them as Said Asgar, a chemistry student
at the conservative-leaning Free Islamic University of Tehran.

The attackers had formerly belong to "an organization," Sobh-e Emruz said,
without elaborating.

On Tuesday, the same daily denounced the existence of a murderous "shadow
government" holding real power in the nation, saying it must be destroyed
in order to "enhance the image and the prestige of the Islamic Republic."

Mosharekat, the official paper of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation
Front (IIPF) which won February's parliamentary elections, also criticised
the news black-out imposed by the National Security Council, which is
dependent on the interior ministry.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 10:59:54 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Aziz slams Albright over Iran-Iraq war remarks

Aziz slams Albright over Iran-Iraq war remarks


BAGHDAD, March 23 (Reuters) - Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz on
Thursday accused U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright of lying when she
said Washington had supported Iraq in its 1980-88 war with Iran.

``This lady is accustomed to telling lies ... She is specialised at
distorting facts and telling lies,'' Aziz told reporters after attending a
rally held in Baghdad to mark the first anniversary of NATO air war against
Yugoslavia.

Albright, in a speech in Prague last week, indicated U.S. regret at its
support for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war, saying that ``aspects of U.S. policy
towards Iraq during its conflict with Iran appear now to have been
regrettably shortsighted...''

Aziz said: ``Does she forget Irangate and the weapons that America and Israel
supplied Iran with during the war?

``We used to have normal diplomatic and trade ties with America but it was
planning covertly to prolong the (Iraq-Iran) war. The Iranians should not be
deceived by such lies.''

Iran and Iraq remain at loggerheads over several issues from their ruinous
war, such as the repatriation of prisoners.

Iran regularly criticises Iraq for harbouring the main Iranian opposition
group, Mujahideen Khalq, while Baghdad accuses Tehran of backing its Shi'ite
Moslem dissidents.

Tension between the two neighbours has escalated in recent weeks over
cross-border attacks by the Iraq-based Mujahideen.

Iraq blamed Iran on Wednesday for a mortar attack in a residential district
of Baghdad in which six people died.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 11:00:41 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran reformers rap probe of reformist's shooting

Iran reformers rap probe of reformist's shooting

By Mehrdad Balali


TEHRAN, March 23 (Reuters) - Iran's main reformist group has voiced concern
over what it called a ``misleading'' inquiry into the shooting of one of its
leaders, newspapers said on Thursday.

The Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), led by a brother of President
Mohammad Khatami, decried in a statement the ``lack of serious resolve'' into
the shooting of Saeed Hajjarian earlier this month.

Hajjarian, an ally of Khatami and a key figure in the reformists' victory in
last month's parliamentary elections, was gravely wounded in the March 12
shooting by two attackers who escaped on a high-powered motorcycle.

``Some people try to give a wrong address and withhold information on the
identity of the suspects and their ties,'' newspapers quoted IIPF as saying.
``They seek to muddy the atmosphere and stop the shedding of light on the
truth.''

Reformers have blamed the attack on religious extremists opposed to Khatami's
liberal reforms, which they say are possibly linked to hardliners in security
forces.

IIPF's statement represented a direct challenge to an official decree earlier
this week banning critical comments on the issue in an attempt to contain
``rumours.''

Officials say six people have been arrested in connection with the shooting,
including a student at Tehran's Azad Open University who is alleged to have
shot Hajjarian.

State television on Thursday quoted an ``informed source'' as identifying the
five other suspects and linking the ``terrorist'' group to a previous murder
attempt against a former official of a state charity organisation.

SUSPICIONS OF MILITIA TIES

IIPF said the suspects were in the custody of an unnamed military institution
and that the institution refused to hand them over to the Intelligence
Ministry, which deals with internal security threats.

``It seems the above-mentioned (military) institution has intervened because
some of those arrested have ties there,'' IIPF said. ``The suspects also have
links with certain personalities who advocate violence against reformers.''

The high-powered motorbike identified in the shooting has heightened
suspicions among reformists of a link to the security forces because the
vehicle, thought similar to those used in past political killings, is a type
restricted by law to security personnel.

Authorities have said the motorcycle was privately owned and used illegally.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei earlier this week sought to
protect the reputation of the Revolutionary Guards and its volunteer force,
the Basij, by demanding a quick probe into the assault.

All security organisations, including the Revolutionary Guards, have
condemned the attack on Hajjarian, a member of Tehran city council.

Sobh-e Emrouz, a reformist newspaper run by Hajjarian, said on Thursday that
the main suspect, whom it said was 20 years old, had extremist right-wing
views and had participated in previous vigilante assaults on pro-reform
rallies.

It alleged he had also taken an active part in a violent raid by hardliners
on a student hostel in Tehran last July, which provoked a wave of student
unrest and street riots.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 11:25:37 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IRNA:Iranian Azarakhsh fighter may be scaled-up F-5f

London, March 23, IRNA - Iran indigenous Azarakhsh (lightning) fighter
may be a scaled-up U.S. Northrop Grumman F-5f Tiger, incorporating
Russian avionics, according to the latest appraisal from Jane's Defense
weekly.

The two-seater multirole aircraft was previously believed to have been
an assembly of an existing Russian or Chinese fighter with
modifications.

Quoting Iranian sources, Jane's suggested that the resulting derivative
was about 10 to 15 per cent larger than an F-5f and was intended
primarily for air-to-ground operations.

Iran, it said, had yet to publicly release photos of the fighter, which
so far had only been shown at a distance on Iranian television.

The weekly believed that only four examples of the Azarakhsh may be in
existence and that series production may not start until next year.

According to the latest military balance, published by the international
institute of strategic studies, Iran has some 60 F-5f Tigers, presumably
acquired before the Islamic revolution

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 15:30:50 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: hajjarian-physicians

thr 030
hajjarian-physicians
hajjarian ready for physiotherapy - say physicians
tehran, march 22, irna -- the team of physicians attending to
municipal councilor saeed hajjarian said in a statement here on
wednesday that their patient is now prepared for physiotherapy.
the physicians called as desirable and normal the cardial and
respiratory condition of hajjarian. they said hajjarian's blood
pressure is normal and the medicine for increasing his blood pressure
has been cut.
the physicians also said the artificial respiratory has been
minimized and the act of breathing is mosty done by the patient
himself. there are moves in the patient's intestine and feeding
through a hose planted in the intestine has started, the statement
added.
according to the statement, level of consciousness in hajjarian
has increased clearly to the effect that he understands what is said
and responds to them with head or eye.
it said hajjarian has suffered no convulsion over the past 24
hours and his general condition is improving.
hajjarian was shot injured by a gunman before tehran city council
(tcc) premises on march 12.
bg/hm
end
::irna 22/03/2000 18:06

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 15:33:05 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: The Threat to Reform

TIME EUROPE
Web Exclusive

The Threat to Reform
An interview with Mohammed Ali Abtahi, chief of staff to Iranian President
Mohammed Khatami


Enric Marti - AP
An Iranian boy holds a portrait of reformist President Mohammad Khatami


TIME's Tehran correspondent Azadeh Moaveni met with Mohammed Ali Abtahi,
chief of staff to Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, just three days after
the assassination attempt on leading reformist Saeed Hajjarian. Abtahi
discussed the implications of the attack for the President and his reform
movement. Excerpts:

How did the President find out about the assassination attempt on his close
friend and advisor?
I received the call at home, and phoned [the President] myself while he was
in Yazd and told him. It would have been a bad sign, signaling some national
instability, if he had returned to Tehran that same night. But he went
straight to the hospital from the airport when he returned. I go see
Hajjarian every day at the hospital, not because it's my responsibility, but
because he is my friend.

There are many interpretations of the motive for the attack. How do you read
it, and how will you respond?
This is an effort to divert Iran from its path to democratization, but there
is no other way forward. There are opponents who know no language besides
violence. And we must answer this at the ballot boxes, not with another
bullet.

Do you worry that impatient young people, who want faster and more
comprehensive reform, will cease to support the President?
This is a worry and a possibility. Young sentiment may not exactly accept the
President's course. But the realities we're up against must be dealt with.
That democracy has been institutionalized [thus far] is the result of moving
cautiously. It is more important to reach our destination than hurry up and
only go half way. We neither want a civil war nor a dissolving of the reform
movement. I'm more worried about the reform project than the vote-gathering
of Khatami ... Would it be better if we were loved but unable to legislate?

Are expectations of the President too high?
Abtahi: There may be some expectations that just aren't compatible with a
Muslim society and our own culture. And we shouldn't raise [these
expectations] any higher. But we look around us in the region at our
neighbors, places where women cannot vote, drive or travel alone. Iran has no
such difficulties. But some may want more than this.

If the President's hands are tied, why does he not stay true to his own
pledge of transparency and simply admit it?
Nothing is hidden from the Iranian people. The President's rhetoric never
deviates from his platform. He would prefer to remain silent than to [deviate
from his platform].

How will you deal with this dangerous phenomenon of "theorizing violence?"
Abtahi: We have already stripped violence of its value in our society and in
public thinking. The public finds the theorization of violence unacceptable,
and we have already opposed this sort of rhetoric. It has very negative
repercussions, and its first victim is civil society. As long as it remains a
matter of opinion, we will debate it. But if it has practical manifestations,
then the law must stand in its way.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 21:50:12 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IPS: Leader openly disobeyed, Revolutionary guards ikely to be purged

Leader openly disobeyed, Revolutionary guards ikely to be purged
By Safa Haeri, IPS Editor

LONDON 23RD March (IPS) In an act of open act of disobedience to the
leader, some units of the Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards) refused to hand
over to the Government the suspects involved in the assassination attempt
of Mr. Sa'id Hajjarian, the Publisher of the reformist daily "Sobhe
Emrouz" and a close friend and adviser to President Mohammad Khatami.

But as the authorities refused to shed more light, highly informed sources
had assured Iran Press Service that the suspects belonged to the
Intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Guards stationed in Shahre Rey,
near Tehran.

This was confirmed indirectly by newspapers reports Thursday that Mr.
Sa'id Asgar, the main alleged suspect in the assassination attempt of Mr.
Hajjarian was such a "violent religious extremist that he had been
expelled from Shahr Rey mosque".

Analysts interpreted the unprecedented decision as a direct challenge to
the authority of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i and further sign of his
weakness, as he is also the Supreme Commander of all Iranian Armed Forces,
an act that could lead to a massive purge inside both the Revolutionary
Guards and among radical ayatollahs the public believe issues the fatwas
for the physical elimination of the political and intellectual dissidents
they rule as apostates.

Observers said the fact that those who held the suspects in their custody
not only refuse to obey the government, but also the leader and the
Judiciary, shows that they must be linked to very powerful organs outside
the control of Mr. Khameneh'i, forces so powerful that even the
authorities are afraid to identify them.

"This is becoming very serious for the system as a whole and far more
devastating for the credibility of the regime than the shooting on Mr.
Hajjarian, one analyst noted.

"Mosharekat", the official organ of the Islamic Iran Participation Front
(IIPF) observed Thursday that "despite orders from the leader, the unit
that keeps the suspects refuses to transfer them to the Information
(Intelligence) Ministry.

The authorities reported Wednesday the arrest of Mr. Sa'id Asgar, a
Chemistry student in the Islamic Azaad (Open) University of Tehran and
five other persons in connection with the attempt, without providing more
details.

The news of the arrest of Mr. Asgar came less than 24 hours after
Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the embattled leader of the Islamic Republic had
called on the President to "speed up" the arrest of Mr. Hajjarian's
suspected killers.

Tehran Radio named Thursday the other alleged suspects as Mohammad Ali
Moqaddami, Hossein Moqaddami, Mohsen Majidi and Mehdi Royati, but remained
silent concerning the driver of the motorcycle that helped Mr. Asgar to
escape after shooting Mr. Hajjarian.

However, IPS sources disclosed that he is a Revolutionary Guard colonel
whom, contrary to the authorities claims, has the authorisation to drive
this special type of powerful engines.

The Radio did not explained why they had not been named at the same time
as Mr. Asgar and why the authorities in charge had to wait another 24
hours before identifying them.

Tehran Province Prosecutor had said that the motorcycle belonged to a
private person who uses the engine without authorisation, quoting
"confessions" from Mr. Asgar, the principal suspect.

Number man at the Tehran City Council and the "architect" behind
reformists landslide victory in the last Majles (parliament) elections,
Mr. Hajjarian was shot in the face on 12th March in front of the CTT by a
young terrorist who fled with a waiting by powerful motorcycle of the type
that is only used by security and Law Enforcement Forces and Revolutionary
Guards patrols.

Transported immediately to hospital, his situation was reported Thursday
as both "satisfactory and improving", though it would take at least six
months before they could say if he can recover fully.

In a communication with the President, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i had urged
him to "speed up" efforts at having the case of Mr. Hajjarian solved as
quickly as possible.

At the same, and in order to protect the Revolutionary Guards and the
Basij (voluntary forces) he termed as "the most trusted forces of the
revolution", Mr. Khameneh'i had ordered a black out on publishing
information on the issue that do not come from official sources.

Hence, the stern warning by to the press by the Supreme Council on
National against publishing any "unfounded, slanderous, insidious
information accusing wrongly persons and institutions not mentioned by the
official, even information that appears in foreign press on the issue.

This shows clearly that Ayatollah Khameneh'i knew about the involvement of
the Guards in the project of having Mr. Hajjarian killed and wanted to
protect the forces considered as the Praetorian Guard of the "Mollahrchy"
from the same humiliation suffered by the Intelligence Ministry following
the chain murder of political and intellectual dissidents in November
1998.

Under pressure from the public and thank to investigations carried by the
independent press, it was officially established early January 1999 that
high ranking officials at the Intelligence Ministry committed the
assassinations.

IIPF, the grouping led by Dr Mohammad Reza Khatami, the President's
younger brother and of which Mr. Hajjarian is an influential member that
scored a landslide victory in the recent elections said the suspects were
in the custody of a military institution that refused to hand them over to
the Intelligence Ministry.

"It seems the above-mentioned institution has intervened because some of
those arrested have ties there," IIPF said, pointing out that the suspects
also have links with certain personalities who advocate violence against
reformers", an indirect but clear reference to Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi
Mesbah-Yazdi who reached fame after he ruled that faithful Muslims are
allowed to kill anyone who questions basic Islamic laws without
authorisation from the government.

"Some people try to give a wrong address and withhold information on the
identity of the suspects and their ties. They seek to muddy the atmosphere
and stop the shedding of light on the truth", the Front pointed out.

Quoting an unidentified "informed source", Tehran Radio monitored in
London by IPS said the gang it described as a "terrorist group" was
involved in the assassination of a certain Mr. Qasem Shafi'i of the Imam
Khomeini Salvation Committee.

But it did not said who was this Mr. Shafi'i and why he should have been
murdered by religious extremists.

"Sobhe Emrouz", a reformist newspaper run by Hajjarian, said on Thursday
that the main suspect, whom it said was 20 years old, had extremist
right-wing views and had participated in previous vigilante assaults on
pro-reform rallies.

It alleged he had also taken an active part in a violent raid by hard
liners on a student hostel in Tehran last July, which provoked a wave of
student unrest and street riots.

The daily "Mosharekat", the official organ of the IIPF confirmed, accusing
Mr. Asgar of the murder of a young female student during the six days
uprising.

Days after the failed assassination attempt, authorities had revealed that
they had identified the suspect by comparing his robot portrait with
pictures taken during the last July students anti-regime demonstration, a
protest that ended violently after the Basij, the Pasdaran and the Ansar
Hezbollah gangs, instructed by Mr. Khameneh'i, entered action against the
students.

This revelation itself points to the impartiality of the Iranian
Islam-based justice as while hundreds of students have been arrested, none
of the persons who directed the Law Enforcement Forces and the Ansar
Hezbollah thugs to attack the students were detained, except some lower
ranking officers the public consider as "scapegoats'.

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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 22 Mar 2000 to 23 Mar 2000
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