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MKO vows to kill Iran officials

By Leon Barkho
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, April 15, 1999

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iranian exiles warned Thursday that the assassination of a top Iranian general was only a prelude to attacks on other senior officials in Iran.

Farid Soleimani of the Mujahedeen Khalq said his guerrilla group was prepared for a retaliatory attack from the Iranian armed forces to avenge the killing of Brig. Gen. Ali Sayyad Shirazi. He said the group was well equipped with tanks and helicopter gunships.

Shirazi, deputy chief of the joint staff command of the Iranian armed forces, was gunned down Saturday in front of his home in Tehran by men dressed as city cleaners. The Mujahedeen Khalq claimed responsibility for the attack.

``The punishment of Sayyad Shirazi has sent tremors throughout the mullah's regime and the resistance is determined to step up its attack on the regime,'' Soleimani told The Associated Press.

He spoke as more than 500 members of the so-called Iran's parliament-in-exile met in Iraq to discuss ways to overthrow the clerical regime in Tehran.

``We're fully prepared for all eventualities and that includes attacks by the mullahs' regime,'' Soleimani said.

The presence of the Mujahedeen Khalq on Iraqi territory is a main factor hindering a rapprochement between Baghdad and Tehran, bitter neighbors who fought a 1980-88 war.

No exact figures are available on the number of Iranian exiles in Iraq, but they are said to be operating about a dozen camps in the country.

The Mujahedeen Khalq was part of the opposition that overthrew Iran's U.S.-backed monarchy in 1979, but the group split with the Islamic government over disagreements over power-sharing.

The group moved its headquarters and guerrillas to Iraq in 1984 at the height of the Iraq-Iran war.


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