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  Intelligence chief said the 1998 killings of dissidents were "insignificant mistakes"

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Author Topic:   Intelligence chief said the 1998 killings of dissidents were "insignificant mistakes"
posted July 23, 2001 09:32     Click Here to See the Profile for Ardalan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Iran dissidents' killing 'limited mistake'-minister

TEHRAN, July 22 (Reuters) - Iran's powerful intelligence chief said the 1998 killings of dissidents by rogue agents were "insignificant mistakes" that had been forgiven by the public. Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi made his comments in a rare interview with the reformist Hayat-e No newspaper published on Sunday.

"The people have forgiven those limited mistakes," he said. "(Now) we believe ourselves to be at the service of people."

He described the killings of four dissidents and intellectuals in late 1998 as "insignificant mistakes".

Authorities have acknowledged responsibility for only four murders, but dissidents say more than 80 opposition figures were killed by the secret police in the 1990s.

Seeking to soften the secret service's harsh image, Yunesi said the Intelligence Ministry had been transformed and was now fully responsible for its acts.

In a democratic state, (the security apparatus) is at the people's service," he said. "Security comes first... If we create security for the people, they will support and help us."

Although a conservative-minded cleric, Yunesi is respected by many moderates for not openly taking sides in the political infighting in Iran.

He took over the top security job in 1999 in the aftermath of a public outcry over the cold-blooded murders of dissidents.

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