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Hard-line group threatens to kill dissident

Jan 15, 1999, TEHRAN, Iran (AP) An Iranian militant group has threatened to kill the editor-in-chief of a liberal magazine, the publication's owner said in a statement.

Reza Alijani, editor-in-chief of the monthly Iran Farda, received two death threats in the past few days, magazine owner Ezatollah Sahabi said in a statement faxed to The Associated Press late Thursday.

``After the last victim was killed ... you are next, Alijani, and if you continue to give interviews to foreign radio stations, your next interview will be the last in your life,'' Sahabi's statement quoted the written threat as saying.

The threat follows the killing of five writers in the past two months, all of whom had spoken out against Iran's clerical leadership.

Two other leading dissidents are missing. Sahabi, whose magazine also is critical of clerical rule, said the threats to Alijana came from the radical group Islam Fedayeen, or Islamic commandos.

His statement said the threats' reference to the last victim was to Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh, one of the five slain dissidents.

Sahabi, a prominent opposition figure and a former budget and planning minister, sent a similar statement to Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari, a moderate.

After the mysterious killings since November, the Intelligence Ministry recently said it arrested 10 of its agents in connection with the deaths.

The ministry's statement followed President Mohammad Khatami's urging a thorough investigation into the killings.

The slain dissidents were sympathetic to political reforms that Khatami is trying to carry out amid hard-line opposition.


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