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FMI condemns murder of Foruhar

TEHRAN, Nov 25 (AFP) - The outlawed but tolerated Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI) condemned on Wednesday the "tragic murder of leading nationalist dissident Dariush Foruhar and his wife.

The killing of Foruhar and his wife, Parvaneh Eskandari, was "sad for the people of Iran and a shock for the world as well as treacherous," the FMI said in a statement.

Champions of freedom should resist efforts "by those who want to spread terror to hamper the country's political progress," the FMI said. It also called on President Mohammad Khatami to do his utmost to identify and capture the perpetrators of "this abominable crime."

Police have launched a manhunt for the murderers of the veteran politician and his wife, who were stabbed to death in their home on Sunday.

Officials and Iranian newspapers have generally condemned the murder, although the victim was one of the regime's most outspoken critics.

Foruhar was long an opponent of the late Shah of Iran and briefly joined the provisional government of Mehdi Bazargan as labour minister, following the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Iranian monarchy.

He resigned from office and became one of the Islamic Republic's boldest critics, lambasting Iran's religious rulers in interviews to foreign radios. Foruhar, a staunch secular nationalist, was not a member of the FMI, whose members are mostly religious liberals.

The FMI is led by former foreign minister Ibrahim Yazdi and is grudgingly tolerated by the government, though its members are often prosecuted for various charges and denounced as western lackeys.

Funeral ceremonies for the couple are will take place Thursday in a central Tehran mosque.

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