Iran Officials Arrested in Slayings
By Afshin Valinejad
Tuesday, January 5, 1999
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran has arrested a number of Intelligence Ministry
officials in the slayings of five dissidents, the ministry acknowledged
Tuesday -- a rare admission of official complicity in the killings of government
The five writers and opposition figures killed late last year were
all critical of the government's hard-line clergymen, who are trying to
stymie the social and political reforms of moderate President Mohammad
Thousands of students and intellectuals demonstrated at the time to
protest the killings. They also called for the dismissal of Iranian intelligence
In a statement given to the official Islamic Republic News Agency,
the Intelligence Ministry said Tuesday it had arrested a number of ministry
officials in the killings. It did not say how many.
The ministry announced ``with regret'' that ``a few of our colleagues
-- irresponsible, devious and obstinate persons -- were among those arrested.''
``With no doubt these criminals were acting for the interests of foreigners
and the actions of these traitors are quite contrary to the holy mission
of the Intelligence Ministry and we condemn it,'' the statement said.
The statement did not say which foreign countries were involved in
the killings. It accused the detained ministry officials of ``destroying
the reputation of the Islamic Republic of Iran.''
The first of the five victims, Dariush Foruhar and his wife Parvaneh,
belonged to a minor opposition party. They were found stabbed to death
in their Tehran home on Nov. 22.
In the following weeks, writers Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh and Mohammad
Mokhtari disappeared and their bodies were found dumped on the outskirts
of Tehran. They appeared to have been strangled. Both men had tried to
set up a writer's association.
A third writer, Majid Sharif, was found dead after disappearing from
Khatami has ordered a top-level investigation into the killings.