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Author Topic:   Students in Fist Fight at Iran Mosque
posted June 03, 2001 11:37     Click Here to See the Profile for Ardalan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) June 1 - Fist fights among members of Iran's largest pro-reform student group broke out Friday inside a Tehran mosque shortly after President Mohammad Khatami left the area.

Members of the Office for Fostering Unity fought while arguing over whether demands to free their jailed leader should be pursued during Khatami's re-election campaign. Ali Afshari, leader of the group, has been held since January on charges of insulting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader.

About 200 students had spent the day at the mosque debating issues relating to the June 8 election with officials and members of parliament.

Khatami stopped by the event briefly, but did not make any campaign statements. Those in attendance cheered him and called out supportive slogans as he left. He was no longer in the area when the fist fight began.

There were no injuries or arrests.

Khatami is a moderate cleric whose calls for greater democracy have met resistance from an unelected but powerful hard-line clerical establishment. The president faces nine conservative rivals in the election, but none is expected to pose a serious challenge.

The hard-liners have accused Khatami of trying to betray the principles of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

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