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Deputy interior minister charged over violent unrest
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posted January 23, 2001 08:32
TEHRAN, Jan 21 (AFP) - The deputy interior minister said Sunday that a Tehran court had charged him with disrupting public order in connection with the unrest that marked a pro-reform student conference in August.
Mostafa Tajzadeh, who has been selected to oversee Iran's presidential elections this year, told reporters after his hearing that he had also been accused of incitement to unrest and insulting officials.
The charges against the 44-year-old member of President Mohammad Khatami's reformist coalition had been dropped by the conservative-led judiciary in November, and it was not clear why they had been reinstated.
One policeman was killed and dozens of people wounded in several days of clashes in the provincial capital of Khoramabad after a mob stormed the city airport to block two liberals from addressing a student gathering.
The annual August conference of the pro-reform Office to consolidate unit (OCU) had to be cut short because of the violence. The OCU later said its members had been brutally beaten by volunteer Islamic militiamen as well as troops from the nation's elite Revolutionary Guards, though both groups denied charges.
The conservative-run state inspectorate-general put much of the blame for the unrest on reformists, specifically naming Tajzadeh after his ministry issued permits for the conference.
But other investigations by the National security council and the reform-majority parliament largely backed student claims that they had been beaten.
It was the worst unrest in Iran since the previous summer, when six days of unrest erupted after vigilantes and security forces attacked student protestors at a Tehran university dormitory.
Tajzadeh has also been under heavy fire in recent weeks after he was tapped to supervise the June presidential elections, in which Khatami is expected to run for a second four-year term.
Conservatives charge that his membership in the pro-Khatami coalition leaves him unable to be impartial in handling the voting.
All times are PT (US)
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