New Iranian intelligence chief faces vote of confidence
TEHRAN, Feb 17 (AFP) - The new head of Iran's scandal-tainted intelligence
ministry was presented to parliament Wednesday for a vote of confidence,
the official news agency IRNA reported.
Ali Yunesi was tapped to take over as head of the powerful ministry
from Qorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi, who resigned this month following the
revelation that "rogue" intelligence agents had been involved
in the murders of several dissidents and writers last year.
President Mohammed Khatami presented the politically conservative
cleric to parliament Wednesday and a vote is scheduled to take place next
week, IRNA said.
Yunesi, 43, had been at the helm of a special committee of inquiry
into the dissidents' murders and has wide experience in the Islamic regime.
He has served as a public prosecutor in Tehran and as head of the military's
In 1978, Yunesi was arrested and tortured by agents of the former
shah, IRNA said, after having worked earlier with Palestinian and Lebanese
The intelligence ministry has been the focus of a political crisis
here after it announced last month that a number of its agents had been
arrested for involvement in the murders of several prominent dissidents
Conservatives in the regime have insisted that the killings were the
work of foreign agitators, while reformists have accused Islamic fundamentalists
-- backed by conservatives -- of being behind the murders.
On Tuesday a former commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards accused
Israel of involvement.
"The Israeli secret services were behind the recent murders and
political assassinations in Iran as well as an attack in November against
a group of American tourists," General Mohsen Rezai said.
"They want to tarnish the image of the regime and show that our
reformist president Mohammad Khatami is incapable of controlling the
situation," he told reporters.