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Young hardliners attack political meeting with knives and axes

TEHRAN, Nov 18 (AFP) - Young hardliners armed with knives and axes attacked a public political meeting where two pro-reform MPs were speaking, the governmental Iran daily said Saturday.

The half-hour attack Thursday night in the south coast city of Bushehr's cultural centre left a number of people wounded and police had to intervene to evacuate the deputies to safety, it said.

The attackers, who also beat participants with brass knuckles, launched the assault after a member of the audience protested at Bushehr MP Rajabali Mazroui's response to a question on Iran's political situation, it said.

Public appearances of pro-reform political and cultural figures have been increasingly disrupted by protests and violence.

Last week a dissident nationalist, Ezzatollah Sahabi, was blocked by hardliners from taking part in a political gathering in the southwest of the country.

In August, a mob stormed the airport in the provincial capital of Khoramabad to block two prominent critics of the clerical regime from addressing the annual conference of a leading pro-reform student group.

The incident set off days of rioting and clashes that left one policeman dead and dozens of police officers and students wounded.


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