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Iranian police prevent march to protest murder of opposition leader

TEHRAN, Nov 30 (AFP) - Iranian police on Monday prevented around 1,000 people seeking to march in Tehran Monday following a memorial service for slain nationalist opposition leader Dariush Foruhar and his wife.

Witnesses said the mourners started to march in the streets after the service demanding an end to "repression and insecurity," but police immediately ordered the crowd to disperse.

"Security, security," chanted the crowd, which also demanded the arrest of the murderers. Foruhar and his wife Parvaneh were stabbed to death at their home on November 22.

Hundreds of liberal dissidents, academics and critics of the regime close to various opposition movements were among the several thousand people who attended the service.

Mahmud Doai, a moderate cleric close to President Mohammad Khatami, also attended the ceremony to pay respect on behalf of the president.

Foruhar's son and daughter, Arash and Parastu, thanked the audience for "coming to express their loyalty to their parents and Iran."

Iranian officials and media have roundly condemned the killings and police say they have set up a special committee to "seriously" investigating the case. Khatami has personally pledged to pursue the matter until those responsible for the "repugnant crime" are apprehended.

Foruhar, who headed the secular Iranian Nation's Party, was a labour minister in the transitional government of Mehdi Bazargan, set up after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

But he resigned shortly after amid deep disagreements with the Shiite clery and turned into one of the fiercest critics of the Islamic regime.

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