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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

INTRO:  Iran has arrested more than 10-people in 
connection with the March 12th assassination attempt on 
a reformist leader allied to President Mohammed 
Khatami.  Lisa Bryant reports from Cairo that Iranian 
government officials say unspecified Islamic 
extremists, not political hardliners, are behind the 
TEXT:  Iran's information minister, Ali Yunesi, says 
those behind the shooting of Saeed Hajjarian are not 
affiliated with any political group or guild.  Mr. 
Yunesi said although one of those arrested was a part-
time member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, the 
suspect had been - deceived into joining the would-be 
Mr. Hajjarian, the publisher of a leading reformist 
daily, was seriously wounded in the shooting, and 
doctors feared he would die.  But he survived, and 
Iran's official news agency reports physicians say his 
mental and physical condition has improved in recent 
The assault has drawn widespread condemnation in Iran, 
not just from moderates, but also from political 
conservatives.  Last week, Iran's supreme leader, 
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for a speedy 
investigation into the shooting.
Nonetheless, reformists say they believe members of 
the country's hard-line security services - including 
the Revolutionary Guards -- may have been behind the 
attack and are trying to cover up the evidence.
But Information Minister Yunesi told reporters there 
were no obstacles hampering the government's 
investigation.  He said the Intelligence Ministry 
would - discover the roots of the plot.  He said five 
people, including the main suspect in the drive-by 
shooting, have been arrested. 
Mr. Yunesi also said the suspects appeared to have 
acted for personal rather than political reasons, and 
did not seem to be linked to a foreign plot.  Earlier, 
the minister said Iranian officials were investigating 
possible links to foreign agents or to the opposition 
Mujahedeen Khalq group.  The insurgency group, which 
has bases in Iraq, has been accused of recent attacks 
on Iran. 
Mr. Hajjarian is considered one of the key architects 
behind the reformist sweep of February's parliamentary 
elections.  Following the shooting two-weeks ago, 
reformist leaders called for the government to swiftly 
track down the assailants, but said the attack would 
only strengthen the reform movement.   (SIGNED)
26-Mar-2000 10:59 AM EDT (26-Mar-2000 1559 UTC)
Source: Voice of America

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