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Iran Condemns Attack on Americans

December 11, 1998

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ Iran’s hard-line speaker of Parliament said Thursday that last month’s attack on a group of American visitors was ``inappropriate,″ according to the official news agency.

Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri’s comments marked the first against the Nov. 21 attack from a conservative within Iran’s ruling clerical hierarchy. He added, however, that a failure to explain the visitors’ purpose had provoked ``suspicion″ about the delegation.

``From what I have read, the members of the delegation were businessmen, who traveled in the name of tourists,″ the Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Nateq-Nouri as saying.

Vigilantes wielding iron bars and throwing stones smashed the windows of a bus carrying 13 foreigners, mostly Americans, on its way through Tehran. A radical Muslim group, Fedayeen Islam, claimed responsibility.

Nateq-Nouri stressed the need to refrain from provocation.

``Violence has always been condemned and if it continues, it will lead to anarchy,″ he said.

President Mohammad Khatami, a moderate engaged in a power struggle with hard-liners, has condemned the attack as a national disgrace.

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