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Liberal dissidents to commemorate murdered nationalist leader

TEHRAN, Dec 30 (AFP) - Around 300 liberal political personalities said Wednesday they will gather at a Tehran mosque on Thursday to commemorate the violent murder of a nationalist leader and his wife last month.

The dissidents said in a notice published in moderate Etelaat newspaper that they will meet in Fakhr mosque in northern Tehran to mark the 40th day after the deaths of Daryush Foruhar and his wife, Parvaneh. The couple were stabbed to death in their Tehran home by unidentified intruders on November 22.

"We will gather to commemorate the martyrdom of these heros of the Iranian nationalist movement," the notice said.

The notice was signed by some 300 opposition activists, university professors, doctors and former government officials.

The authorities have pledged to investigate the murders, but they have not divulged any information on the case.

Foruhar, 70, was the leader of the Party of the Iranian Nation, a secular movement banned but tolerated here, and an outspoken critic of the Islamic regime.

He was the minister of labour in the interim government of Mehdi Bazargan who became prime minister after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

But the transitional government was ousted after eight months and Foruhar has since been campaigning against the government.

The couple's assassination preceded the kidnapping and murder of two secular intellectuals -- Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammadeh Pouyandeh -- by unknown killers early this month.

Another writer, Majid Sharif, was found dead in mysterious circumstances. The authorities said he had died of a heart attack.

Iranian authorities have condemned the chain of killings and blamed them on a "foreign enemy plot" aimed at undermining the Islamic regime.

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