Iran: June 24, 2003

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 The government says it has identified some al Qaeda members and is interrogating them. After that, they will be sent back to their country of origin or, if they come from a country Iran has no diplomatic relations with, Iran will try them for their crimes. Iran refused to accept help from European countries to identify other al Qaeda suspects who have not yet been identified. Several senior al Qaeda leaders are thought to be in Iran, and Islamic radicals in Iran are thought to have given sanctuary and support to these al Al Qaeda members. But there are many Iranians who do not like al Qaeda at all, mainly because al Qaeda members took part in persecuting Shia Moslems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iran is mainly Shia and nearly all al Qaeda members are Sunni Moslem.

The widespread demonstrations have died down after ten days. A combination of heavy police presence, many arrests of actual or suspected protest leaders, and beatings of demonstrators by gangs if Islamic radicals did it. The government has warned that it will not allow demonstrations to commemorate the July 9, 1999 demonstrations, the first against the unelected Islamic conservatives who control the government. The Islamic conservatives  fear that eventually there will be large demonstrations that will not back down, and will fight back. And the fighting will escalate. Actually, there are signs that this is already happening. Today, a group of armed men attacked a Basij (religious militia) base in Isfahan. Five

 

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