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Majlis warns students against "traps" by hardliners

TEHRAN, Sept 27 (AFP) - The Iranian parliament on Wednesday warned students not to let hardliners draw them into more violence that could harm President Mohammad Khatami's reform movement.

The reform-majority legislature, in a statement carried by the state news agency IRNA, said the current situation was "extremely sensitive" after days of riots marred a pro-reform student meeting last month.

It warned against the "traps set by aggressive, law-breaking fundamentalists" who seek to "impose their beliefs and opinions on the majority of the people."

It also urged students to stick to their pledge of an "active calm" on campus this year, maintaining the peace while working toward the reforms of Khatami, who is up for re-election in 2001.

The unrest broke out last month when a mob attacked the airport in the western city of Khoramabad to block two leading critics of the clerical regime from addressing the student conference.

One policeman died and dozens of people were injured during the several days of rioting, which reformists have charged was orchestrated by conservatives to undermine Khatami's re-election bid.

Deputy Science and Technology Minister Hossein Rahimi also stood up for students Wednesday, hailing parliament's approval of a motion barring police, military and militia forces from university campuses.

Iran saw its worst unrest in some 20 years last summer after student demonstrators at Tehran university were attacked by police and Islamic hardliners, setting off six days of riots.

"It is not right for a group of people to think that they can attack the universities and insult students and professors in order to fight opposing views," Rahimi said, quoted by IRNA.

The then Tehran police chief and 17 of his subordinates were acquitted over the university attack.

Parliament approved the measure in August but will still debate minor changes before final passage.


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