Iranian council fires police chief over dormitory raid
July 10, 1999
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran's Supreme National Security council has fired the police official who ordered police to crack down on university students demonstrating against the ban on a student newspaper, state television reported Saturday.
The council was convened by President Mohammed Khatami, and its statement did not mention the official's name. But student demonstrators have called for the resignation of Hedayat Loftian, an Islamic hard-liner who heads the police force.
While the council met, thousands of Iranian students took to the streets to protest Friday's violent attack by police and Islamic hard-liners on a Tehran University dormitory. The students had been protesting the ban on a reformist newspaper supportive of Khatami.
Higher education minister Mustafa Moin and the university's chancellor, Mehdi Khalili Araqi, both quit in protest of the police action. Moin took responsibility for failing to prevent the "tragic incident."
Other ministers and top university officials are also reported to have given up their jobs.
At least 20 students were seriously injured and 120 other were arrested during the raid. The students said that seven of their number were killed.
"They have declared war on the universities," a Tehran University student spokesman said. "We will resort to legal measures to fight them. If that does not work, we will take up revolutionary struggle."
The unrest shed new light on the split between Iran's ruling reformists, headed by Khatami, and conservative Islamic leaders. But representatives of Iran's Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the country's spiritual leader backed the students.
Khatami and his supporters used the incident to press for more control over the interior ministry and police.
Protests have also begun to spring up in other cities around Iran.
The government said the raid on the dormitory was not authorized by the Interior Ministry, which is supposed to oversee the police force.
Correspondent Shirzad Bozorgmehr and Reuters contributed to this report.
Iran court arrests head of state news agency
Islamic Republic News Agency -(IRNA)
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