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Iran arrests 98 policemen for student hostel raid

TEHRAN, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Iranian security forces have arrested 98 policemen for their role in a brutal raid on a student dormitory which led to riots in the capital last month, Iran's police chief said in remarks published on Wednesday.

Local newspapers said General Hedayat Lotfian made his remarks on Tuesday to a closed-door session of parliament, where he had been summoned to provide an explanation for the July 8-9 attack to suppress a pro-democracy student demonstration.

The raid sparked a series of protest rallies and two days of riots throughout Tehran in mid-July, the worst social unrest in Iran since the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iran's Supreme National Security Council, headed by President Mohammad Khatami, said at the time that several police commanders involved in the attack had been arrested.

But student leaders have been demanding the resignation of the hardline police chief in their meetings with security officials in the past weeks.

Newspapers said Lotfian had told the assembly he would resign if a parliamentary probe found him guilty. The parliament decided to conduct an investigation into the affair on Tuesday.

But the general defended the right of his force to enter the dormitory last month: ``The students had provoked our personnel with insulting slogans. So they got angry and attacked the dormitory.''


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