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--Tehran to Send Clerics to Schools

--Initiative to Combat Western and Opposition Plots

--Iraq Court Orders Arrest of Iranian PMOI

The Iranian government said that it would send 1,000 religious clerics to Iranian schools at the beginning of the new school year this September in an attempt to combat "western influence" and the threat of internal opposition, reported pan-Arab daily ASHARQ AL AWSAT, Monday. Mohammad Boniadi, deputy director of Tehran's educational department, said that Tehran is sending 1,000 religious clerics recruited for this task in order to alert students to "opposition plots, and plots by the forces of arrogance" Iranian papers report that the Iranian official said Sunday that the clerics would act as "security officers in the ideological war."

Boniadi did not say which ages of students would be affected, but similar measures in high schools were taken by the Islamic Republic just following the 1979 Revolution. Tehran has been seeking to beef up its control over Iranian youth following last summer's re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which was fraught with irregularities, and which the opposition "Green movement" claims was stolen. The elections were followed by weeks of protests in which demonstrators were arrested and, in some cases, killed by Basij militiamen, brought in to crack down on the demonstrations.

Elsewhere, prominent opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi launched an attack on Iranian President Ahmadinejad's foreign policy saying it is "irrational" and that it is "highly disturbing within the country (Iran)". Iranian opposition websites published his statements, which were made during a meeting with families of political prisoners.

Mujahideen e-Khalq Arrests

Meanwhile in Iraq, a court ordered the arrest of 39 members of an exiled Iranian opposition group, accusing them of crimes against humanity in helping Saddam Hussein to crush a revolt almost two decades ago, a judge said Sunday. The 39 are members of the Mujahideen e-Khalq, also know as the People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI), a guerrilla movement opposed to the Iranian government. "An arrest warrant has been issued against 39 leaders and members of the organisation including the PMOI's head Massoud Rajavi, due to evidence that confirms they committed crimes against humanity," said Judge Mohammed Abdul-Sahib, a spokesman of the Iraqi High Tribunal, according to a Reuters report. Rajavi's wife Maryam, leader of the French-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the PMOI's political wing, was also included in the warrant, Abdul Sahib added. "The 39 Iranian suspects were involved with the former Iraqi security forces in suppressing the 1991 (Shiite) uprising against the former Iraqi regime and the killing of Iraqi citizens," he said.

The PMOI began as an Islamist leftist group opposed to Iran's late Shah, but fell out with Shiite clerics who took power after the 1979 revolution. Mujahideen guerrillas carried out attacks against Iranian targets. Iran executed a large number of PMOI prisoners at the end of the Iran-Iraq war. It sided with the toppled Iraqi dictator, a Sunni Muslim, during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s but has denied helping Saddam to crack down on long-oppressed majority Shiites and ethnic Kurds. Iran, Iraq and the United States consider the PMOI a terrorist organization and the now Shiite-led Iraqi government has been trying to get it to vacate a base north of Baghdad where around 3,500 of its members have lived for 20 years.
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Title Annotation:Today's News Highlights
Publication:The Daily Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Jul 12, 2010
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