Saturday, April 10th, 1999

Statements issued by PMOI:

Major General Ali Sayyad Shirazi, murderer of Mojahedin, Butcher of Kurdistan, war criminal, punished in Mojahedin operation in Tehran

Mojahedins Command HQ inside Iran reported that this morning, several Mojahedin operational units punished Maj. Gen. Ali Sayyad Shirazi, military advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Deputy Chief of the General Command Staff of the clerical regimes Armed Forces, the command and control organ of the Revolutionary Guards Corps and the mullahs' regular Army. To carry out the operation, Mojahedin operational units brought a large area of northern Tehran under their control. Sayyad Shirazi, butcher of Kurdistan, responsible for purging and executing the military personnel and for the death of hundreds of thousands of teenagers in the unpatriotic war with Iraq and hundreds of Mojahedin and National Liberation Army of Iran combatants was killed as he was being escorted by a group of heavily armed Revolutionary Guards acting as his bodyguards. His crimes in all these areas amounted to specific war crimes and crimes against humanity. Due to his countless crimes and his complete loyalty to the mullahs, Sayyad Shirazi rapidly rose through the ranks of the military to occupy senior posts to pursue the regimes suppressive and belligerent policies. A summary of his criminal record follows: 1. In 1979, Khomeini appointed Sayyad Shirazi as the commander for special operations in Iranian Kurdistan". In that position, he played an active role in the suppression of the people in that region. He was responsible for repeated, indiscriminate shelling of many villages and cities in Iranian Kurdistan in 1979 and 1980. On many occasions, Khomeini issued orders directly to Sayyad Shirazi to massacre, pillage and ravage Iranian Kurds . An army captain in 1979, he was promoted to colonel in a short span of time as a reward for his crimes. 2. Sayyad Shirazi was appointed as the commander of the regimes ground forces in 1981. In that post, he purged the regular armed forces of its patriotic personnel, ordering the arrest, execution and dismissal of many of them. He also appointed officers loyal to the clerical regime to key positions to thwart any outpouring of protest and discontent within the military. For this reason, he was among the officers most hated by the military personnel. 3. Sayyad Shirazi was a key official responsible for sending hundreds of thousands of young Iranians to their deaths in the unpatriotic war with Iraq. He played a direct and personal role in sending thousands of high school students and youngsters to run over mine fields. In 1987, Khomeini appointed him as his personal representative in the regimes Supreme Defense Council. 4. In July 1988, fearing advances made by the National Liberation Army of Iran during Eternal Light operation, Mir Hossein Moussavi, at the time the Prime Minister and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, sent Sayyad Shirazi as the head of a mission to the countrys western region to assess the situation and take the necessary decisions. 5. Several hours after Operation Eternal Light was launched in July 1988, Sayyad Shirazi was dispatched to Kermanshah on Khomeinis orders. He was taken to the scene of the operation at midnight by a Revolutionary Guards Air Corps helicopter. In an interview with the state-run television on July 28, 1998, Sayyad Shirazi admitted that many army officers and soldiers refused to confront the National Liberation Army. Sayyad Shirazi, however, gave them emphatic orders to fire. He personally boarded a helicopter gunship and fired on combatants of the National Liberation Army. In this interview, Sayyad Shirazi said that he had told the pilot: This is an enemy column. Attack it. Begin until the other helicopters arrive. The pilot went ahead, but returned. I asked why have you returned? He said these are our own people, how can I shoot at them?... Despite my insistence, he said, no, I am afraid. I am worried. 6. At the end of Operation Eternal Light, Sayyad Shirazi and the forces under his command, launched a major and ruthless wave of arrests, repression and massacre of the people of villages and cities in the area who had cooperated with the combatants of the National Liberation Army. This murderous henchman and his mercenaries also captured many combatants and ruthlessly tortured, mutilated or raped, and finally executed them. After execution, they hanged their bodies from trees or left them on the side of the road to terrorize and intimidate the public Eternal Light's operational region. 7. As reward for his crimes, Khamenei appointed Sayyad Shirazi as deputy chief of inspections in the General Command HQ of the Armed Forces in October 1989. 8. Sayyad Shirazi was always among the primary planners of the suppression of the people of Iranian Kurdistan. In November 1992, he headed a delegation of the Guards Corps and the regular Armed Forces commanders on a visit to Kurdistan to consider ways to confront the people of Kurdistan and peshmargas. Some 50 brigadiers from the Guards Corps and regular military, including GC Brig. Shamshiri, deputy commander of the Guards Corps Bassij Force and GC Brig. Tamizi, one of the forces' commanders were in that delegation. 9. In September 1993, Sayyad Shirazi was appointed by Khamenei as the Deputy Chief of the General Command staff of the clerical regimes Armed Forces. Until he was brought to justice by the Mojahedin, he was pursuing his crimes against the Iranian people in that post. Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran April 10, 1999

Statement No. 2 Khatami's heaping praise on criminal Sayyad Shirazi demonstrates he is no different from other regime's leaders

In a message to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, mullahs' president, Mohammad Khatami, offered his condolences on the death of Deputy Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ali Sayyad Shirazi and described the infamous "Butcher of Kurdistan" as a "selfless commander of Islam and honorable son of Iran." Khatami also described Sayyad's inhuman crimes as "honest services." Sayyad Shirazi, who was a war criminal and perpetrator of crimes against humanity on the basis of all international instruments on such crimes, personally murdered many Mojahedin and was responsible for bloody purges of patriotic officers and soldiers in the armed forces. The praise heaped on Sayyad Shirazi by Khatami showed the hollow nature of the latter's rhetoric on civil society and the rule of law. Khatami's remarks also demonstrate that as far as repression and the denial of the Iranian people's right to sovereignty are concerned, he is no different from other leaders of the regime. Several Mojahedin operational units brought under their control an area of north Tehran this morning to punish Sayyad Shirazi, Khamenei's military advisor, and Deputy Chief of the General Command Staff of the clerical regime's armed forces. Operation "Tolou" was carried out in the memory of Ms. Tahereh Tolou, one of the hundreds of Mojahedin brutally murdered in summer 1988 during National Liberation Army's Eternal Light operation. After savage tortures, the mullahs' agents stabbed her in the heart and hanged her from her feet on a cliff, leaving her body there for several days. A picture of this shocking scene is available. Immediately after Eternal Light operation began, Sayyad Shirazi was dispatched by Khomeini to the operational zone. Whereas most of the military personnel refused to open fire on the Mojahedin, he was the first to personally fire on the Mojahedin with his helicopter gunship. Iranians across the country are jubilant over the punishment of this criminal. The frightened reaction by the regime's leaders and state radio-television, on the other hand, reflects the weight of the blow they have received as well as their fear over the expansion of the operations and activities of the Iranian Resistance throughout the nation. Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran April 10, 1999

France Not Prepared to Bow to Mullahs, Reuter, March 30

PARIS - France on Tuesday renewed an invitation to Mohammad Khatami to visit Paris which has been snubbed by Tehran because wine would be served at a state banquet. Official sources confirmed Khatami put off the visit because France rejected Iran's demands for no wine bottles on the table. Non-alcoholic drinks were also to be served at the banquet. The sources, who asked not to be identified, said France, where wine is an important part of the national culture, was not prepared to bow to Iran's demand. They said yielding could open a Pandora's box of demands, possibly including requests that women wear Islamic veils at receptions for leaders of Moslem countries.

Tuesday, March 30, 1999


The state-run radio and television in Iran announced today that the clerical regime's president, Mohammad Khatami, would not pay a scheduled visit to France "because Islamic and national etiquette and customs are not to be observed." National Council of Resistance President Massoud Rajavi said that Khatami canceled his visit essentially out of fear of protests and demonstrations organized by the Iranian Resistance and a repetition of the dismal failure of his trip to Italy. He called this a victory for the Iranian people in the face of the mullahs' hated regime. Mr. Rajavi welcomed the fact that the French government did not yield to Khatami's blackmail and his efforts to dictate his terms, which he demagogically portrayed as "Islamic and national etiquette and customs." The NCR President recalled that since last June, Khatami's maneuvers have been defeated by Iranians outside Iran on three important occasions: the huge anti-Khatami rally by Iranians in Iran vs. U.S. football match in Lyon in World Cup 98, the 10,000-strong demonstration against Khatami's presence at the UN General Assembly in New York last September, and the ubiquitous rallies and protests by thousands of Iranians in Italy earlier this month. Now, after three great defeats, Khatami has finally thrown in the towel.


PARIS - Iran on Monday postponed a planned trip to France by president Mohammad Khatami, saying France was not willing to respect Islamic customs during his stay. Although there has been no official French explanation for Iran's decision, diplomats in Paris say the reason for the Khatami's postponement is that France insists on serving wine during official banquets. One official said the French argued that when their delegations visit Tehran, they observe Iranian and Islamic tradition with, for example, French women wearing headscarves so as not to offend the Iranians. In return, the French official added, France expects to be able to observe its own traditions -- including serving wine at meals -- on its own soil... The announcement was made as members of the dissident National Council of Resistance staged a demonstration in Paris against the visit. One council member, Elaheh Azimfar, says western views that President Khatami is a moderate are misguided. Azimfar: Nothing has changed in Iran, the situation is still the same. Khatami belongs to the same regime. He is a mullah like the others. He is not a new face for the Iranians and, under Khatami, 340-people have been executed and nine people have been stoned to death. The Iranian dissidents in Paris say they believe the Tehran leadership fear an outbreak of protests during Mr. Khatami's visit, when and if it takes place. For that reason, they said they plan to continue their demonstrations to persuade France to cancel the visit entirely.


PARIS - Wine has always been serious business in France, and now it appears to be at the center of a serious diplomatic flap. The Iranian government insists that women of host countries be dressed modestly during visits by Iranian officials and that no alcohol be served. Officials point out there may be other reasons for Iran to consider postponing the trip, chief among them the fear of protests. Iranian opposition groups already had announced plans for demonstrations against Khatami, despite the lack of an official date for the visit.


PARIS - Mohammad Khatami has scrapped plans for an April visit to Paris because France would have served wine at a state banquet, French diplomatic sources said. French diplomatic sources said senior Iranian officials had been served fruit juice on previous visits to France but had not objected to wine being on the table. A spokesman for exiled National Council of Resistance of Iran claimed the postponement was a success for its plans to stage week-long protests in Paris during Khatami's trip. "Khatami feared eggs more than wine," spokesman Alireza Jafarzadeh said. Iranian exiles threw paint at Khatami's motorcade during his visit to Rome. Senior Iranian officials have criticized Italy for allowing the protests to take place.

Friday, March 12, 1999


FIESOLE, Italy - ... Mohammad Khatami, aiming to end his country's isolation, challenged an audience of European scholars Wednesday night to open a "profound, thoughtful dialogue" with the Islamic world. Then he canceled a scheduled question-and-answer session and left the stage. Khatami's abrupt exit, which embarrassed his hosts at the European University Institute, appeared to undermine the message of his three-day visit. His departure came after one demonstrator in Rome hit his car with an egg filled with yellow paint and two others gained entry to the institute here, shouting, "Death to Khatami!"... "It was a bit embarrassing," said Yves Meny, a French political scientist who teaches at the institute. "You can't just say, 'We need dialogue,' and then leave like that."... Several Iranians with anti-Khatami banners were arrested in Rome earlier Wednesday, a day after about 3,000 Iranian dissidents and some Italian opposition politicians held an authorized, incident-free rally there... The protesters dismiss Khatami as a facade for a regime that is oppressive, dangerous and unpopular. "The West is wrong to think it is welcoming a new Gorbachev," said Behzad Naziri of the Iranian resistance movement... "Khatami is not there to overturn the Islamic Revolution but to prevent it from being swept away."


The protesters waved Iranian flags and held banners reading "no Khatami" and shouted "Iran Rajavi," referring to the president of the Iranian resistance council, Massoud Rajavi. One group of protesters was dressed in prison clothing. Others held photographs of relatives they say were tortured or killed by the Iranian government. They called for freedom and democracy in their country. One said Italy should not do business with what he called a terrorist government... One speaker at the protest was a member of the Italian parliament, Marco Taradash, who criticized the Italian government for agreeing to the visit.


Dozens of Iranians residing in Italy staged a protest as Khatami and his entourage were leaving the Vatican. Despite restrictive measures by the Police, the protesters chanted "Down with Khatami" and threw empty beverage bottles, newspapers, books and fruit toward cars carrying Khatami and his entourage or spit at them. As Khatami's motorcade was passing through Rome's Veneto street (near the hotel where Khatami stayed) at around 8:15 a.m., protesting Iranians reacted by hurling paint-filled eggs at the cars.


VATICAN CITY - Mohammad Khatami held 25-minute talks here on Thursday with Pope John Paul II. About 50 Iranian dissidents demonstrated near Saint Peter's Square, shouting "Khatami terrorist" as he arrived at the Vatican amid a heavy police guard. The demonstrators were from the Iranian opposition movement National Council of Resistance.

Wednesday, March 10, 1999

Thousands Protest Khatami's Visit to Italy, Agence France Presse, March 9

ROME- Thousands of protestors, mostly Iranians living in exile, demonstrated in Rome Tuesday against the visit of President Mohammad Khatami. In Rome organizers said up to 5,000 people had responded to appeals by the people's mujahedeen (NRC) and Italian right-wing opposition parties Forza Italia and the National Alliance to demonstrate against the visit by Khatami, the first abroad by an Iranian head of state since the Islamic revolution in 1979. Many protestors were women wearing headscarves who carried portraits of Massud Radjavi, elected the NRC Iranian president-in-exile, and his wife Maryam.

Eight Members of Parliament Address the Demonstration Against Khatami's Visit to Italy, Iran Zamin News Agency, March 9

Over 5,000 Iranians staged an elaborate demonstration on Tuesday, March 9, in Rome to condemn the visit of Khatami to Italy. Parliamentary deputies Ms. Cristina Matranga and Mr. Marco Taradash, from the Forza Italia Party; Mr. Giulio Savelli, from the UDR Party; deputies Nicolini and Torrone, as well as Ms. Miranda Martino, the famous Italian singer; and Dr. Antonio Stango, President of the Helsinki Watch, Italy, addressed the gathering. A number of political dignitaries from other countries, including Mr. Lennart Friden, member of the Swedish Parliament, also took part and addressed the demonstration and expressed their protest to Khatami's trip to Italy. Speakers stressed that Khatami's trip to Italy does not in any way contribute to improving the situation of human rights in Iran. One speaker said progress toward democracy is only possible with the victory of the Iranian Resistance. In a message to the rally, Mr. Massoud Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, lauded the demonstrators and said similar to the demonstrations of our compatriots in Lyon, France (June 1998) and New York, U.S.A. (September 1998), the protest today is a manifestation of the Iranian people's repugnance toward the dictatorship ruling Iran and their resolve to overthrow this regime and all its factions. In the past weeks, a majority of deputies in the Italian Parliament, many Senators, dozens of Italian syndicates, associations and human rights organizations, as well as tens of thousands of Italian citizens expressed their protest to Khatami's trip to that country.

Head Line News of aras( past events)

Tehran - Only 11% of Eligible Voters Participate

The Interior Ministry's Deputy on Parliamentary and Legal affairs told IRNA on November 26 that the number of the eligible voters across the country was 43 million. On this basis, in the Greater Tehran area, 7.9 million people are eligible to vote. On site observations in Tehran's polling stations indicate that despite an added six hours to the voting period, the turnout was less than 900,000 (11.4%).

Western Iran:

Kurdistan Province - Reports say that the election was completely boycotted by the people in this province. In polling stations in the cities of Mahabad, Sanandaj, Boukan, Piranshahr and other cities in Kurdistan and western Azerbaijan provinces, only a handful of voters showed up. Ilam - A large group of people staged a demonstration in the city's Sa'di square to protest against the elections sham. Assad-Abad, Hamedan - Only relatives of candidates took part in the voting.

West Azerbaijan province:

Orumieh (Capital) - The polling stations were empty. Only a few voters turned up at Koshtargah district's polling stations. In Hejrat and Imamat secondary schools as well as in Payam-e Nour University polling stations not even one person showed up to vote. Salmas Shahr - There was no public participation in the elections. Local authorities brought in vehicles to forcibly take the people to vote. Polling station in Mossadeq elementary school was closed down. In Saheb-al Zaman stations only two people voted in several hours. Abe-garm village - A man by the name of Farman began shouting slogans against the regime. A Revolutionary Guards member shot him from a rooftop, killing him instantly.

Centeral Iran:

Holy City of Qom - Very few people were in the polling stations. Isfahan - The streets were empty. In the polling stations in Isfahan, authorities delay the voting to create long lines. Shiraz (capital of the southern Fars province) - The polling station at Darvazeh Qassabkhaneh was set ablaze at 10:30 a.m. Polling stations no. 37 in Shokoufaye Omid, no.1 in Imam Hassan, no. 168 in Nemouneh Andisheh and 111 in Shahrestani elementary schools, indicate that a very limited number of people actually voted. Those who turned out were either from the military forces or relatives of the candidates. Many slogans calling for the election boycott were seen on the walls throughout the city. Marand (East Azerbaijan province) - Most voters were students because the day before, the Islamic Association had ordered them to vote or they would be denied the chance to continue their education. Zanjan (northwest Iran) - A number of candidates paid people to vote for them. In a polling station located in Montazeri seminary, the busiest station in the city, people went to vote for only one hour. Golestan Province (northern Iran) - According to an internal report by the regional command of the para-military Bassij, residents of Hassan-Abad village have totally boycotted the elections. Ardebil (capital of the northwestern province of Ardebil) - Rival factions resorted to buy the birth certificates of the impoverished people living in the city's periphery to vote for their own candidates.

Statement No. 9 Only 50 votes cast in Jajarm with a population of 15,000 - Clashes between people and suppressive forces in Bahar, Saqqez, Salmas,Khonj, Marand and Ilam on election day

The Islamic councilsU election sham was completely boycotted by residents in the city of Jajarm (northeast Khorassan province), according to reports received from within the clerical regimeUs Interior Ministry. Only 50 votes, by non-native mine workers, were cast in the city which has a population of 15,000. In the city of Bahar (western Hamedan province), the head of a polling station shot and killed Nader Beik, who was protesting against the RIslamic councilsU S election sham. The incident occurred as the victim, a relative of one of the candidates, was protesting widespread rigging in the elections. Subsequently, a group of people staged a protest against his murder. The State Security Force intervened and arrested a number of demonstrators. During the elections in Abe-garm village in Salmas (western Iran), a protester was shot and killed by the Guards Corps. In the city of Saqqez (western Kurdistan province), the people staged a protest in the cityUs Oqab square to arrests in previous days. The Guards attacked the gathering and arrested a number of people. Reports from different parts of Tehran and other cities, including Khonj, (southern Fars province), Marand (northwestern East Azerbaijan province), Ilam (western Ilam province) pointed to frequent clashes between the people and the regimeUs suppressive forces. A number of people were killed, wounded or arrested in these clashes. Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran February 28, 1999

Mullahs' Regime Boycotted King Hussein's Funeral, Agence France Presse, February 9

TEHRAN - Iran had planned to send a government minister to join world leaders at the funeral of Jordan's King Hussein, but pulled out in a protest boycott, a Tehran newspaper reported Tuesday. Industry Minister Gholam-Reza Shafei, who heads an Iran-Jordan joint commission, had been due to attend the funeral in Amman Monday, the English-language Tehran Times said. Tehran "remains a threat to the security of certain Gulf countries," the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat quoted the king as saying last week.

Under Public Pressure Khatami Accepts The Sham Resignation of Intelligence Chief, Agence France Presse, February 9

TEHRAN - Mohammed Khatami accepted the resignation of his intelligence minister Tuesday. The minister, Qorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi, had resisted repeated calls to step down but in the face of mounting tension over the issue, Khatami put pressure on Dorri-Najafabadi to resign, sources close to the government told AFP. Khatami thanked Dorri-Najafabadi "for your great efforts and services" and expressed appreciation for "the valuable endeavors of our colleagues at the intelligence ministry who are the defenders of the revolutionary values as well as national security and the rights of the citizens." Khatami hinted he might find Dorri-Najafabadi another job in government. "Of course the government and the nation will certainly benefit from your knowledge and experience and capabilities elsewhere and in an appropriate manner," he said. Dorri-Najafabadi will remain a member of the key political arbitration body, the State Expediency Council, and will be appointed an adviser to the president, the Tehran Times said. The government newspaper Iran Daily reported that Ali Yunesi, another conservative cleric and member of a committee investigating the recent murders, was the most likely candidate to succeed him. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution Yunesi has held a number of senior positions -- he headed the powerful Tehran Revolutionary Court and helped set up the intelligence ministry with the arch-conservative cleric Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri.

Tehran's Behavior Regarding Terrorism And Peace Process Has Not Changed, Reuters, February 8

WASHINGTON - The United States is unlikely to approve the sale of $500 million in farm goods to Iran any time soon because Tehran has failed to make sufficient changes in its policies regarding terrorism and the Mideast peace process, U.S. officials said on Monday. "I don't see a decision any time in the near future," a senior official told Reuters. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the administration view is that "there are elements of Iran's behavior that trouble us. We don't see much sign of change in those elements." In fact, he added, "in one area where we hoped to see change -- support for the (Mideast) peace process -- we've seen a slip backwards," he added. "I think we're looking to see if there are going to be changes in Iran's behavior that will warrant changing long-standing U.S. sanctions policy...We don't see at this stage the changes in behavior that would make us comfortable advocating a change," he said. Also inspiring hesitance over easing sanctions is the assessment of Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet, who told a Senate committee last week Washington has not yet seen "any significant reduction in Iran's support for terrorism." Iran also is "more likely to face serious unrest in 1999 than at any time since the revolution 20 years ago," Tenet said. Some U.S. analysts say Khatemi and his supporters are running out of time to turn around the country's economy.

Whitewashing Attack on US Group, Reuters, February 8

TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said Monday that a bus carrying U.S. businessmen was attacked in Iran last year because the visitors had misrepresented themselves as ordinary tourists. "The cause of the problem which happened with a group of American tourists on their trip to Tehran was that this group had come as tourists but had activities other than tourism," Kharrazi told a news conference. Kharrazi said Americans could visit Iran for business or tourism but called for honesty in visits by U.S. visitors.

Regime's Foreign Minister Cancels Speech in France, Agence France-Presse,February 6

TEHRAN - Iran said Saturday that lax security led Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi to make a surprise cancellation of a speech on the last day of his French trip on Wednesday. "The fact that French police were unable to ensure security and organizers did not make the necessary preparations led Mr. Kharazi to cancel his speech" to the French Institute of International Relations, the official IRNA news agency said. IRNA said "eyewitnesses" confirmed that "hostile elements... were there to interrupt the minister's speech." Dozens protesters, supporters of the main Iranian opposition movement, the People's Mujahedeen, demonstrated outside the institute. The minister made a last minute cancellation citing "lack of time," though one of the organizers said the move was "unacceptable."

Friday, February 5, 1999

Iran Opposition Says Tehran in Deadly Weapons Drive, Reuter, February4

ROME - Iran's opposition in exile accused Tehran on Thursday of trying to develop biological and chemical arms and obtain weapons of mass destruction. "We recently obtained shocking information which demonstrates that the mullahs' regime is advancing a very systematic and dangerous program to mass produce the essentials for germ warfare," said Mitra Bagheri, Italy representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. "These latest reports also confirm that the regime's biological and chemical weapons program has been intensified since Mohammad Khatami took office as president," she told a news conference in Rome. Bagheri said a drive to obtain weapons of mass destruction had been intensified during the 21-month presidency of Shi'ite cleric Mohammad Khatami. Bagheri alleged the Iranian authorities wanted deadly arms in order to "export terrorism and fundamentalism" and had recruited foreign specialists, mainly Russians, to accelerate its warfare projects.

Economic Woes Mark Iran Revolution Feast, Reuter, February 1

TEHRAN - Iran celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Islamic revolution faced with an economy gutted by low oil prices and in need of long overdue reforms. The heavily state-dominated economy created after the 1979 revolution has sunk into recession with mounting unemployment as oil revenues have dropped, leaving state coffers empty. A financial crisis has pushed the rial to record lows and forced Iran to seek $3 billion in loans from foreign creditors to avoid defaulting on the repayment of its heavy debt. To weather the storm, the government has slashed spending and turned to the sale of bonds, borrowing from the Central Bank and taking advance payment for future oil deliveries -- all steps that clashed with state ideology. The cuts have provoked a deep recession, pushing up unemployment, put officially at about 10 percent but estimated at twice that by Iranian economists. Newspapers have reported workers' protests over unpaid wages. Some 10,000 development projects remain unfinished because of a lack of funds, officials say. Faced with the reality of rising budget deficits, Iran's conservative-dominated parliament has given the government one year to draw up a plan for selling off most state companies. But few Iranian analysts believe it will be easy to sell off unprofitable state firms.

Palestinian Police Discovers Mullahs' Supported Terrorist Campaign, Reuter, February 4

GAZA - Palestinian police said on Thursday they had arrested 40 Islamic militants who were planning Iranian-financed attacks against Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip. Major-General Ghazi al-Jabali said police also seized arms and explosives collected by the 40 members of Izz el-Deen al-Qassam, the underground military wing of Hamas, for attacks, including one planned for the next two weeks. "We have documents that they have already received $35 million to carry out sabotage operations against Israelis in the Gaza Strip," Jabali told Reuters. He said the money came from unspecified "parties" in Iran. Ismail Haniyah, a Hamas leader who directs the office of movement founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin office, confirmed to Reuters that Hamas members were under arrest but declined to give a number. Haniyah said. "For Hamas the Israeli entity is an occupation that took our land and we see all as enemies."

Tehran Paper Casts Doubt on Upgrading of Relations with UK, Agence France Presse, February 4

TEHRAN - A Tehran newspaper cast doubt Thursday on any imminent upgrading of relations with Britain. "Since Britain has adopted an unfriendly policy on Iran, sending an ambassador to London has been cancelled for the time being," the Tehran Times quoted an "informed source" as saying. "The UK recently launched a propaganda campaign against the Islamic Republic to exploit the murder of Dariush Foruhar and his wife Parvaneh and some writers in Tehran," the paper quoted the source as saying. In a shock announcement early last month, the Iranian intelligence ministry admitted that rogue agents had been involved in a recent string of murders of dissident intellectuals, including Foruhar, leader of the secular Iranian Nation's Party.

PMOI Statement - Intelligence Ministry's headquarters in Iran pounded in a major mortar attack in heart of Tehran

The Mojahedin Command Headquarters reported that Mojahedin military units launched a mortar attack today at 6.30 p.m local time on the main headquarters of the mullahs' Intelligence Ministry in Tehran's Pasdaran Avenue, in response to political killings in Iran and abroad. In this major attack, carried out by Zahra Rajabi and Ali Moradi military units, considerable damage was inflicted on the Intelligence Ministry buildings which houses the dreaded organization's various departments. Successive sounds of explosion were heard throughout the northern and eastern neighborhoods of the capital. Long convoys of ambulances and fire engines rushed to the scene while the revolutionary Guards Corps and the State Security Force in the capital were put on full alert. The area of the attack was sealed off and revolutionary Guards patrols searched all vehicles and pedestrians. The Mojahedin Command Headquarters in Iran said additional information would be released in due course. The mortar attack on the Intelligence Ministry Headquarters comes on the eve of the clerical regime's ten-day celebrations commemorating the Iranian Revolution, with Monday marking the anniversary of Khomeini's return to Tehran. The mortar attack on the headquarters of the mullahs' Gestapo disrupted the mullahs' political razzmatazz prepared by the mullahs to celebrate the anniversary of their hijacking of the Iranian people's revolution against the Shah's dictatorship. Ms. Zahra Rajabi, a member of the Mojahedin's leadership council, and Ali Moradi, a Mojahedin sympathizer, were assassinated on February 20, 1996, by agents of the regime's Intelligence Ministry in Istanbul, Turkey. She was on a humanitarian mission to aid Iranian refugees in Turkey. Other crimes of the Intelligence Ministry in the past include: - the April 1990 assassination in Switzerland of Professor Kazem Rajavi, brother of Iranian Resistance Leader Massoud Rajavi and representative of the National Council of Resistance in Switzerland, - the March 1993 assassination of Mohammad Hossein Naghdi, NCR's representative in Italy; - the May 1995 assassination in Iraq of Mojahedin members Effat Pourhaddad and Fereshteh Esfandiari, and the July 1995 assassination of Ibrahim Salimi, Yar Ali Gartabar, Hossien Sadidi, the June 1994 assassination of Ahmad Sadr Lahiji, and the November 1997 slaying of Nosrat Bahou and Yahya Mohammadpour; - the 1992 kidnapping, mutilation and assassination of Mojahedin member Akbar Ghorbani in Turkey; - the 1994 murder of three Christian leaders in Iran; - the June 1994 bombing of the holy shrine of the eighth Shiite Imam; - the setting up of terrorist networks throughout Europe, Latin America and Asia and the assassination of Iranian dissidents such as the murder of four Iranian Kurdish dissidents in Berlin, Germany (September 1992); - the arrest and execution of political prisoners since 1984, particularly the massacre of political prisoners in September 1988; - cruel and savage methods for torture of resistant political prisoners; - setting up of safe houses for secret torture and murder of opponents; - continuous harassment of families of the Mojahedin and other victims of the regime; - controlling the offices, schools, universities and factories, and arresting the regime's opponents and suppressing acts of protest in these centers. The clerical regime's Intelligence Ministry, headquartered in the same building that housed the Shah's secret police (SAVAK) is intensely hated by the people of Iran. In the wake of the recent wave of murders of dissidents and writers in Iran, Khamenei and Khatami both heaped praise on members and officials in charge of the Intelligence Ministry, describing them as "the most loyal and honest forces of the Islamic Revolution," "competent managers," and "valuable assets of the nation." Referring to the countless crimes of this repressive organ, Khamenei declared, "Was it not for the efforts of this ministry, the Islamic Revolution would not have survived." People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran January 31, 1999

Monday,February 1st, 1999

People's Mujahedeen Claim Attack on Intelligence Ministry Headquarters,Agence France Presse, January 31

NICOSIA - The People's Mujahedeen, the main armed Iranian opposition group, claimed Sunday to have carried out a mortar attack on the headquarters of the intelligence ministry in Tehran. "At 6:30 p.m. this evening the headquarters of the intelligence ministry in Tehran's Pasdaran street in northeast Tehran was attacked with mortars by a military unit of the People's Mujahedeen," a spokesman told AFP here. "The attack was in response to the political murders and assassinations inside and outside Iran by ministry of intelligence agents," he said. "Several mortars landed on the ministry building which sustained extensive damage," the People's Mujahedeen spokesman said, adding that "for a long time ambulances and fire engines were rushing to the scene."

300 Protesting Employees Arrested in Tehran, Iran Zamin News Agency, January 31

Reports from Tehran say that following protests by hundreds of government offices and firms last Tuesday in front of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Tehran, at least 300 were arrested and taken to an unknown location. These employees were protesting the non-payment of their wages for the past 13 months. When the State Security Force and the Guards Corps rushed to scene, they resisted the guards for several hours. Reports from Isfahan also say that more than 200 people have been arrested in recent weeks by the suppressive forces. News from the northern town of Astaneh Ashrafieh indicate that scores of youth, including Abbas Akhavan, an athlete, and Hamid Bakhtjou, a shop owner have been arrested by the State Security Force and the Intelligence Ministry. There is no information available on their fate.

Commentary Revolution Anniversary amid Infighting And Economic Hardships, Reuter, January 31

TEHRAN - Iran is marking the 20th anniversary of its revolution amid economic woes and a bitter row between Islamic factions, but also at a time of popular hopes for change towards a more open society. Iranian officials have urged the people to take part in the celebrations, vowing the country would overcome an economic crisis caused by a slump in oil prices just as it survived eight years of war against Iraq and crippling U.S. sanctions. Khomeini's successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has called on President Mohammad Khatami and conservatives to curb their feuds which have focused lately on a spate of killings of dissidents and upcoming nationwide local elections. Khamenei's call came as the factional row, with strident polemics in the media and hardline vigilante attacks on moderates, appeared close to overshadowing the celebrations.

Iran Rial Slides Further, Down Four Percent, Reuter, January 31

TEHRAN - The Iranian rial has continued to drop against hard currencies, losing another 4.6 percent against the dollar in days, traders said on Sunday. On Tehran's illegal but highly active black market, dealers were trading at 8,120 rials to the dollar on Sunday, compared to 7,750 rials per dollar on Tuesday. The rial has lost more than 11 percent of its value in one week amid expectations of further cuts in the government's hard currency expenditures in the next Iranian year, which begins on March 21, because of falling oil revenues. The cutbacks have forced many state-run firms to turn to the black market for their hard cash needs, economists said. Economists have also blamed the rial's fall on fears of a possible flurry of price rises in the new year, when fuel prices are due to be raised by up to 75 percent. Many ordinary Iranians buy hard currencies as a hedge against inflation.

Iranian MPs Renew Anti-U.S. Fund in State Budget, Reuter, January30

TEHRAN - Members of the Iranian parliament chanted "Death to America" on Saturday as they approved a fund to combat alleged plots by the United States against Iran. In a session broadcast on Tehran radio, deputies voted by a large majority to restore the fund which had been dropped from the state budget approved in a first reading two weeks ago. The fund has been part of Iran's annual state budget since 1996 when it was created to match dollar-for-dollar a $20 million fund reportedly set up by the United States for covert action against the Islamic republic. The amount of the fund, part of the budget for the next Iranian year which starts on March 21, was not specified in the text of the adopted.

Monday,January 25th, 1999

Hezbollah Is Iranian Agent: Egyptian Weekly, Agence France Presse, January 24

CAIRO - An Egyptian government weekly on Sunday charged that Lebanon's anti-Israeli Hezbollah guerrilla was not a resistance movement but an "extremist" group in the pay of Iran." "Are Hezbollah freedom fighters or agents for a non-Arab country?" asked Rose el-Yussef magazine in a report devoted to the Lebanese Moslem Shiite guerrilla. "The extremists are only doing this as part of overt and covert action on behalf of Iran in the region," it said. Rose el-Yussef charged that Iran was backing Hezbollah and Hamas, in a bid "to keep an influential position in the region and to increase its influence on the international scene."

Top Cleric Warns of Internet, Satellite Threat, Reuters, January 22

TEHRAN - A top Iranian cleric warned on Friday against the "threat" of the Internet and satellite television to Iranian society. "The danger of the Internet and satellites that broadcast from a close range threatens us...They broadcast disgraceful, immoral pictures and threaten all humanity and morality and chastity," said Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the secretary of the powerful Guardian Council. In his sermon, broadcast on Tehran radio, Jannati warned that if due action was not taken, "Islam and the revolution would be damaged and people would give in to passions." Under Iranian law, satellite television receivers are banned and hoisting a satellite dish is an offense punished by a fine and the confiscation of the equipment. Several Internet service providers and an Internet cafe are currently active in the Islamic republic, but users -- mostly government organizations and professionals such as journalists -- have to get an official permit and sign a statement promising they would not connect to "immoral" sites or those "against national security." Prices of Internet services, including E-mail, are high for the average Iranian and therefore the users are mostly government bodies and commercial firms.

Commentary Intelligence Ministry Implicated in Murder of Dissidents

Six weeks after the ghastly murders of Iranian writers and dissidents first came to surface, the clerical regime What compelled the clerics to make such a sudden acknowledgment was tremendous public pressure within Iran and invariable statements of outrage and condemnations of the killings abroad. What is the true picture? Members of a supreme committee consisting of Khamenei, Khatami, Rafsanjani, Dorri Najafabadi and his predecessor Ali Fallahian, Revolutionary Guards Corps Commander in Chief Rahim Safavi, GC Deputy Commander in Chief Mohammad-Baqer Zolqadr and ex-Deputy Intelligence Minister Mohammad Hejazi were either informed of the murders in advance or actually oversaw the killings. A number of senior Intelligence Ministry officials and dozens of GC officers were directly involved. Terrified of a crack in the wall of repression and a slack in the suppression by the Ministry The Committee assigned by Khatami to the task of investigating the recent serial killings, announced on January 17: "Extensive investigation indicate that none of the [regime's] political groupings and factions were in any way involved in these murders." Such a brazen statement demonstrates palpably that Khatami is doing his utmost to whitewash the role of the regime's leaders in these murders. The mullahs' is neither a sign of the clerics', or for that matter, Khatami's, intention to unveil the truth, nor an indication of progress of the so-called reformist trend. Now that the clerical regime's leaders have admitted to these killings, the files on other such murders in the years past out of Iran must be reexamined immediately by relevant international organs and organs in countries where they occurred. As for the murders inside Iran, international delegations accompanied by representatives of the Iranian Resistance must intervene. It is time for the United Nations Security Council to adopt serious and practical measures to punish this religious, terrorist dictatorship.

Wednesday, January 20, 1999

Khatami's Efforts to Conceal Role of Mullahs' Leaders, Factions in Recent Murders, Iran Zamin News Agency, January 19

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the Iranian Resistance's President-elect, and Mr. Massoud Rajavi, the Iranian Resistance's Leader, took part in a ceremony at an NLA basecamp yesterday, marking Eid Al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadhan. Congratulating the Eid Al-Fitr, Mrs. Rajavi pointed to the clerical regime's admission to the role of the Intelligence Ministry in the recent political murders, and urged intervention by the international community and the United Nations as well as the prosecution of the regime's leaders as enemies of humanity in an international tribunal. She said: The clerical regime must be boycotted and its representatives expelled from international forums. In his address to the gathering of NLA combatants, Mr. Rajavi underscored that the Iranian Resistance has always called for free and fair elections for a constituent assembly or presidency on the basis of the people's sovereignty and under the auspices of the United Nations. But the mullahs will never submit to such an election. Mr. Rajavi added: We are seeking to overthrow the clerical regime, which has usurped the rights of the Iranian people, in its entirety. No force, power or government can impede the realization of the Iranian people's will. The National Liberation Army of Iran is the guarantee for the Iranian people's sovereignty, the Iranian Resistance's leader emphasized.

Cabinet Bans Head of Broadcast Network, Associated Press, January 19

TEHRAN - The head of Iran's state television has been banned from attending Cabinet sessions for airing a broadcast that blamed supporters of the country's president for a string of recent slayings, newspapers reported Tuesday. Ataollah Mohajerani, minister of culture and the government's spokesman, demanded a public apology from Ali Larijani, who heads the country's radio and TV network. Larijani is not a minister but sat in on Cabinet sessions in his capacity as head of the broadcast network. In a broadcast on state television last week, Ruhollah Hosseinian, a former deputy intelligence minister, said the killings were carried out by Khatami's supporters.

Supporters of Dissident Iranian Cleric Arrested, Agence France Presse, January 19

TEHRAN - Several supporters of dissident Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the disgraced former heir to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, have been arrested in the central city of Esfahan, a newspaper reported Tuesday. "Several people were arrested after shouting slogans in favor of Ayatollah Montazeri," said the radical newspaper Salam. It said the arrests took place on Monday after prayers for Eid al-Fitr marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. A pro-Khatami government newspaper, Sobh-e-Emrooz (This Morning), reported Sunday that several Khatami supporters had been arrested in Esfahan, including a former top military commander during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

Explosions Kill Four Outside Tehran, Agence France Presse, January 19

TEHRAN - Four people were killed and three others wounded Tuesday when two unidentified "objects" blew up in Karaj, west of Tehran, the official IRNA news agency said. The first explosion, at an industrial site about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Tehran, killed brothers Khalil and Mohsen Najafi and a third person, Afsar Rahbar. In the second blast, Mohammad Afsar, a soldier guarding the same site, was killed and two others under his command were wounded, IRNA said without giving further details.

Political Overtures in Disguise, United Press International, January 19

Tuesday, January 19, 1999

Amid Escalation of Infighting, Mullahs' Leader Calls For Calm, Reuters,January 18

Hard-liners Stop Prayers Sermon, Reuter, January 16

TEHRAN - Stone-throwing Iranian hardline militants disrupted a sermon by a senior cleric backing Mohammad Khatami, amid a bitter row over a spate of recent killings, newspapers reported on Saturday. The daily Salam said some 100 Islamic militants cut speaker wires and threw sticks, stones and metal rods at a podium where Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri was about to deliver his sermon at Friday prayers in the central city of Isfahan. "When an iron rod was thrown at Ayatollah Taheri, his bodyguard fired blank rounds in the air, but the agitators kept throwing stones and shoes. (So) Ayatollah Taheri left the podium," Salam said. Taheri's office earlier issued a statement accusing police and security forces of standing by during Friday's disturbance and "sometimes cooperating with the agitators," Salam said.

Regime Holds Nationwide Rallies to Denounce Israel, Reuter, January 15

TEHRAN - Large crowds chanting "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" marched on Friday in Tehran to mark a nationwide day of protests against Israel. Near the Tehran University campus, some marchers burned an Israeli flag and an Uncle Sam puppet. President Mohammad Khatami joined the march near the campus as enthusiastic youths tried to shake his hand. Rafsanjani also slammed the Middle East peace process, saying Israel could not be trusted to carry out accords it had signed. A resolution read at the rally called for "continued resistance and struggle until the disappearance of the aggressive Zionist regime (Israel)."

Speaker Calls For Israel's Destruction, Agence France Presse, January 15

TEHRAN - Iran's conservative speaker of parliament Ali Akbar Nateq-Nuri made a passionate appeal Friday to Arab nations to unite for the destruction of Israel as the Islamic republic marked International Qods (Jerusalem) Day. "Come out openly, like Iran, and say you don't accept such a country as Israel on the world map. Have courage. We can make good use of our weapons, military equipment and all our forces," he said. "Don't seek to recognize Israel. Don't humiliate Islam by siting at the negotiating table with the Zionists," Nateq-Nuri said. "A dignified death is better than a wretched and humiliating life."

Regime Shaken by Murders and Insecurity, Agence France Presse, January 17

TEHRAN -Political killings and kidnappings, death threats against intellectuals and political figures, and violent killings of citizens on an almost daily basis, have deepened a sense of insecurity in Iran ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Islamic revolution. Iran has been gripped by a vicious cycle of death threats and murders, as rival political factions are locked in a power struggle ahead of the anniversary on February 11. News of horrific murders in Tehran's northern residential suburbs in recent weeks, widespread political violence and arrests, disappearances and failed assassination attempts are also becoming commonplace.

Mullahs' Leader Still Says Foreigners Behind Killings, Reuters, January 8

TEHRAN - Iran's supreme leader on Friday accused foreign elements of being behind a recent spate of killing of dissident intellectuals, saying members of the intelligence service could not have acted alone. "I cannot believe that these murders have happened without a foreign scenario...These murders aimed to damage the system and the government," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. Khamenei told a Friday prayers gathering at the Tehran University campus that those who were killed posed no threat to the Islamic republic. "Mr. Forouhar was our prison-mate before the revolution, he became our colleague after the revolution, and later turned into our enemy. But he was a harmless enemy...He had too little influence to be any threat to the Iranian government," he said. The senior Shi'ite cleric criticized newspapers that have urged conservative Intelligence Minister Qorbanali Dorri Najafabadi to resign. "Propaganda against the Intelligence Ministry is extremely unfair... I call on (intelligence forces) not to lose their morale and to continue to defend the nation," he said.

International Probe Into Murder of Parents Demanded, Agence France Presse,January 7

TEHRAN -The son and daughter of Daryush Foruhar, an Iranian political figure recently murdered along with his wife, insisted on Thursday that an international investigation be conducted into the murder of their parents. "It took the intelligence ministry weeks to admit the truth that was clear to all from the first day," said Arash and Parastu Foruhar in a statement faxed to AFP. "We neither know about the identity of those arrested, nor their rank, or whether they are the real organizers of these evil acts or just agents who have to be sacrificed so that their commanders can escape punishment," they said.

Khatami's Intelligence Ministry Admits to Recent Killings, Associated Press, January 5

TEHRAN - Iran has arrested a number of Intelligence Ministry officials in the slayings of five dissidents, the ministry acknowledged Tuesday -- a rare admission of official complicity in the killings of government opponents. Thousands of students and intellectuals demonstrated at the time to protest the killings. They also called for the dismissal of Iranian intelligence officials. In a statement given to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, the Intelligence Ministry said Tuesday it had arrested a number of ministry officials in the killings. It did not say how many.

Iranian Political Figure, Wife Stabbed to Death, Reuters, November 22

TEHRAN - A veteran Iranian political figure and his wife were found stabbed to death at their home, the Iranian news agency IRNA reported on Sunday. It quoted police as saying Dariush Forouhar, former labor minister and head of the small Iran Nation Party, and his wife Parvaneh were found dead at their home in Tehran. Several prominent exiled Iranian opposition figures have been assassinated since 1979

Iranian Resistance Leader Suspects Authorities in Murder, Reuters, November 23

WASHINGTON - The leader of the main Iranian opposition in exile on Monday pointed his finger at the Iranian government for the murder in Tehran of Dariush Forouhar and his wife. "The assassination bore all the hallmarks of similar terrorist crimes committed by the mullahs' regime in the past," said Massoud Rajavi, leader of the Mujahideen Khalq group. A statement by the National Council of Resistance said Rajavi condemned the murder of Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh, who were found stabbed to death at home on Sunday. "The murder [of someone like Darioush Forouhar, who was a former minister in the clerical regime and was involved in no serious activity against the regime], once again laid bare the demagogic, false claims made by (Iranian President Mohammad) Khatami about the 'rule of law' and 'civil society'," he added. The Mujahideen broke with the Iranian government shortly after the Islamic revolution of 1979. It has a well-armed force on the Iranian border. The main theme of its current message is that Khatami's election last year has brought no change to Iranian policy.

Wednesday, June 10, 1998

Statements by Mojahedin

The Mojahedin Command Headquarters inside Iran reported that today, about 2:00 p.m. local time, the headquarters of the Revolutionary Prosecutor's Office in downtown Tehran was destroyed in a huge explosion by military units of the People's Mojahedin. Scores of torturers and interrogators were killed or wounded and the building was demolished. The Revolutionary Prosecutor's Office in Tehran is the headquarters of the clerical regime's most criminal interrogators and torturers who in the last 17 years have savagely tortured and sent before firing squads tens of thousands of political prisoners in Evin, Gohardasht and Qezel-Hessar prisons and in the regime's "safe houses." The operation was in retaliation for the slaying of Mojahedin member Hadi Homayoun and seven other Mojahedin in Ilam (western Iran), on November 2 by agents of the Intelligence Ministry and the Prosecutor's Office. Ambulance sirens could be heard in the area for several hours after the explosion. Subsequently, the Guards Corps, the Intelligence Ministry agents and State Security Forces sealed off nearby streets and began to search passers by and vehicles. The Mojahedin's operational units, however, left the area safely long before that. The operation was carried out on the eve of June 20th, the day of Iranian martyrs and political prisoners and the anniversary of Khomeini's death. The People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran June 2, 1998

Wednesday, June 3, 1998

Huge Explosion Rocks Revolutionary Prosecutor's Office in Tehran, Iran Zamin News Agency, June 2

The Mojahedin Command Headquarters inside Iran reported that today, about 2:00 p.m. local time, the headquarters of the Revolutionary Prosecutor's Office in downtown Tehran was destroyed in a huge explosion by military units of the People's Mojahedin. Scores of torturers and interrogators were killed or wounded and the building was demolished. The Revolutionary Prosecutor's Office in Tehran is the headquarters of the clerical regime's most criminal interrogators and torturers who in the last 17 years have savagely tortured and sent before firing squads tens of thousands of political prisoners in Evin, Gohardasht and Qezel-Hessar prisons and in the regime's "safe houses." The operation was in retaliation for the slaying of Mojahedin member Hadi Homayoun and seven other Mojahedin in Ilam (western Iran), on November 2 by agents of the Intelligence Ministry and the Prosecutor's Office. The operation was carried out on the eve of June 20th, the day of Iranian martyrs and political prisoners and the anniversary of Khomeini's death.

Dozens of Interrogators and Torturers Killed and Injured by Blast in Revolutionary Court - Resistance, Reuter, June 2

TEHRAN - An explosion killed two people and injured six others at an Islamic revolutionary court in Tehran on Tuesday, Iran's official news agency IRNA said. In Baghdad, the Iraq-based Iranian armed opposition group Mujahideen Khalq said its forces inside Iran were responsible for the blast, which it said killed and injured "dozens." IRNA said the blast was caused by negligence during the handling of explosives being used as evidence in a case. Mujahideen Khalq spokesman Farid Soleimani told Reuters in Dubai by telephone from Baghdad: "In a the Islamic revolutionary court, dozens of the regime's interrogators and torturers were killed and injured." Soleimani said the operation came as a response to the killing of eight Mujahideen Khalq fighters in clashes with Iranian government forces in western Iran in November. "The Mujahideen's operational forces returned safely to their bases after (Tuesday's) operation," he said. Iranian state television earlier showed piles of rubble, shattered computers and office equipment and heaps of mangled metal at the site of the explosion, which it said occurred in the reception area of the court building, located near Tehran's central Qasr prison. Witnesses earlier said there were many casualties from the blast. "I saw tens of ambulances carrying 60 to 70 people," one witness said.



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