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Iran universities seek vigilante violence probe

TEHRAN, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Chancellors from five Iranian universities have demanded a thorough inquest into last month's vigilante violence against the pro-reform student movement, the official IRNA news agency said on Wednesday.

In an appeal to the minister of higher education, the chancellors demanded that those behind the attacks be identified and brought to justice, the agency said.

Dozens of students at a conference in the western city of Khorramabad were injured, some seriously, when Islamic vigilantes broke up their annual meeting, setting off several days of violence.

A police sergeant was killed and four policemen were injured and the local governor, appointed by the moderate interior minister, was taken to hospital after a severe beating.

``Although universities are following up the issue...its breadth makes a thorough probe necessary in order to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future,'' the chancellors said.

They singled out an attack in the city of Borujerd on a bus carrying students home from the aborted conference, saying it was clearly a well-planned operation.

Student leaders say the bus attack and earlier incidents in and around the conference in Khorramabad were carried out with the help of the security forces, including elite Revolutionary Guards.

A Guards spokesman has denied the allegations.

Among the signatories to the appeal was the chancellor of Ferdowsi University, in Mashhad, home of the students attacked and beaten in Borujerd.

The collapse of the student conference marked the latest blow to Iran's reform movement, already staggering under the mass closure of its newspapers and journals by the conservative judiciary.

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