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Iranian television shows embarrassing images for reformists

TEHRAN, April 19 (AFP) - Iran's conservative-run television dealt a blow to the country's reformists late Tuesday by showing aides of President Mohammad Khatami attacking the Islamic regime at a Berlin conference. Related cartoon here

A commentator apologised to viewers for showing "anti-Islamic" scenes, including a woman dancing with bare arms, and shots of members of the banned armed opposition group the People's Mujahadeen.

Conference organisers the Heinrich Boell Foundation had invited many close allies and supporters of Khatami, including reformist cleric Yussefi Eshkevari and investigative journalist Akbar Ganji.

Also present was Ezzatollah Sahabi of the banned but tolerated secular party, the Iran Freedom Movement.

The television showed a disruption by members of the People's Mujahadeen alleging the Khatami government was just as responsible as its predecessors for the "crimes and human rights violations" in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Participants expressed support for Khatami's reforms and condemned press censorship and political repression in Iran.

Speakers expressed indignation when the woman got up and began to dance, but most of the audience applauded, and the mere fact of being present was enough to damn the reformists in the eyes of conservatives who have been sounding off about the conference for several days.


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