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Iran Identifies Gunman in Shooting

March 21, 2000

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ The Intelligence Ministry on Tuesday identified a university student as the gunman in the attack on a leading Iranian reformist.

Iranian television quoted the official in charge of the investigation as saying chemistry student Saeed Asgar shot Saeed Hajjarian, a city councilman and confidant of President Mohammad Khatami, on March 12.

The official, who was not identified by the state-run TV, said the motorcycle used in the assassination attempt belonged to Asgar. Intelligence Ministry investigators have impounded it.

On Monday, the Supreme National Security Council, the nation’s top security body, announced the arrest of six men in the shooting, and said one of them has confessed.

Hajjarian, 46, was in a coma for days, but has regained consciousness and doctors have said he is expected to recover.

The security council warned local media Tuesday against publishing ``unconfirmed rumors, wild guesses, and slanted and hostile analyses in their coverage of the news of the attempt against Hajjarian’s life,″ said a report by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Pro-reform newspapers and Hajjarian’s allies have blamed the attack on hard-liners who oppose Khatami’s cultural, social and political reforms. The hard-liners have used vigilante groups and members of the security forces in the past to attack or intimidate opponents.

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