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Reformist-run Iran body blames hardliners for riot

TEHRAN, Sept 27 (Reuters) - A reformist-run Iranian state security body on Wednesday blamed Revolutionary Guards and other hardliners for the bulk of last month's bloody unrest in the western city of Khorramabad, Iran's news agency IRNA reported.

The National Security Council, headed by moderate Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari, also said in a report that more than 60 police and security force members were injured, several by gunshots, in the city's riots, IRNA said. It did not refer to injuries among civilians.

The riots broke out after hardline vigilantes attacked pro-democracy students holding a national conference in the city. One policeman was killed in the unrest.

The agency did not carry parts of the report detailing arrests made after the riots, touched off by the vigilante attacks, in which state banks and vehicles were torched.

The conservative-led judiciary had earlier largely blamed the students and moderate local officials for the unrest, in which vigilantes beat up the provincial governor and occupied the local airport to prevent two prominent reformists from addressing the conference.

The reformist administration of President Mohammad Khatami rejected the judiciary's report and launched its own probe.

Wednesday's report said some Revolutionary Guards members took part in the unrest directly or joined senior local clerical officials in making fiery speeches against the pro-Khatami students that provoked violence by hardline vigilantes.

It said other Guards personnel and some police units failed to stop the vigilante attacks.

The Revolutionary Guards, led by hardliners named by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have already denied such charges.

The report also said the students had provoked some of the violence through their slogans, and accused the local chapter of the main pro-Khatami faction of holding an illegal march.

``The events were caused by the extremism of our country's political factions...and outside enemies had no role in them,'' the National Security Council said, calling for those responible to be brought to justice.

Conservatives control the armed forces, the courts and other key levers of power, despite popular backing for Khatami whose reformist allies dominate parliament and several ministries.


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