Iran's President Mohammad Khatami waves to photographers
upon arrival at Quirinale Presidential Palace for official talks with his
Italian counterpart Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, right, in Rome Tuesday, March
9 1999. It is the first state visit to the West by an Iranian leader since
the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Khatami will also meet Pope John Paul II at
the Vatican next Thursday. Behind them are two unidentified interpreters.
(AP Photo/ Massimo Sambucetti)
Iranian opposition from "across Europe" gathers
in Rome: IRNA
TEHRAN, March 9 (AFP) - Members of Iran's opposition People's Mujahedeen
have gathered in Rome from across Europe to protest the visit of President
Mohammad Khatami, the official news agency IRNA said Tuesday.
"They are planning a protest in the centre of Rome against the
Iranian head of state's visit," IRNA said, adding that members of
the opposition group, which is banned in Iran, had come "from across
Their presence is "very noteworthy," IRNA said.
Several thousand Iranian dissidents are expected to demonstrate late
Tuesday morning in the centre of the capital, demonstration organisers
in Rome said.
Rome police said Monday they plan to create "protected roads"
closed to cars and pedestrians, which will not be revealed until the last
At least seven bus routes will be diverted and a number of roads in
the city's historic centre will be shut on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Khatami arrived Tuesday to begin a high-profile three-day visit, the
first by an Iranian head of state to a western European nation since the
1979 Islamic revoltuion.
He is scheduled to meet with Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro,
Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema and Pope John Paul II.