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Iran foils bid to kill former president Rafsanjani: report

TEHRAN, May 6 (AFP) - Iranian authorities have foiled an attempt on the life of influential former president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani by a radical religious movement, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The assassination bid was "discovered and neutralised," the English-language Iran News reported, without giving any date or other details about the attack.

Quoting an "informed source," the newspaper said the attack was prepared by a group linked to another fundamentalist movement implicated in an assassination attempt on a top judicial official in January.

Ali Razini, head of Tehran's justice department, was paralysed in the legs after a bomb attack in the capital that left one person dead and another four injured.

Tehran announced last month it had arrested Hassan Milani, the leader of a shadowy fundamentalist religious network with about 30 members, for the Razini bombing.

Rafsanjani, 65, one of the architects of the 1979 Islamic revolution and a close confidant of the republic's late founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was head of state from 1989 to 1997.

He remains a powerful figure as head of the state Expediency Council, which settles constitutional disputes, and he is the top advisor to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

While regarded as a guardian of the moderate wing, Rafsanjani has close ties with all political factions and is a key figure in Iranian politics.

Iran has been rocked in recent months by a series of deadly attacks against intellectuals as well as leading officials.

Top general Ali Sayad Shirazi, considered a national hero after commanding many of the ground assaults in the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, was slain in Tehran in early April in an attack claimed by the main armed opposition group the People's Mujahedeen.


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