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Dissident Iranian cleric condemns assassination of Iranian general

TEHRAN, April 12 (AFP) - Leading Iranian dissident Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri on Monday denounced the assassination of a top general in an attack claimed by the Iraq-based opposition People's Mujahedeen.

"This assassination, committed by those who have failed on the political scene, is a severe blow to the loyal Iranian army", Montazeri said in a statement.

The killing of Brigadier General Ali Sayad Shirazi was an attempt to "create a violent political climate in order to inhibit the opening of Iranian politics," he said.

Shirazi was slain outside his Tehran home on Saturday in an attack claimed by the Mujahedeen. His funeral Monday was attended by top officials from the Iranian regime, inclduing supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Montazeri, who has been under police surveillance for years, was once tipped as successor to become the nation's next supreme leader after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic republic.

But his liberal views alienated him from the regime and after Khomeini's death he was passed over in favour of Khamenei.


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