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January 5, 2005

Loosing teeth to blind faith

TEHRAN, Jan 5 (AFP) : A young Iranian conscript has had 15 of his teeth pulled out by a dentist in the false belief that the drastic move would get him out of his military service, the Iran newspaper reported Wednesday.

According to the paper, the unnamed 18-year-old from Karaj, a city near Tehran, was fed up with life in uniform after having served seven months out of two years in the sweltering heat of the southwestern city of Ahvaz.

According to his father, the young man was led to believe that a quick ticket back to civilian life was the loss of 15 teeth -- and while on leave back home he managed to track down an obliging dental surgeon.

"After he went secretly to the dentist, he came home nervous and upset. Then he could not eat and we realised he was losing his teeth," explained the father, who said the dentist managed to extract 15 teeth in 10 days.

Complaining his son had been left disfigured, the father filed a complaint with the judiciary against the dentist and his assistant, who were arrested and then released on a bail of 80 million rials (9,100 dollars) pending trial.

The report did not say if the conscript was back in the army.

All males have to complete military service in Iran, although time served in the Islamic republic's armed forces can be reduced or exempted altogether under specific family or health grounds.

Sent by Darius

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