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Iranians: 1 Student Dead in Protest

July 17, 1999 GMT

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ One student died in Iran’s recent pro-democracy protests and about 1,400 people were arrested, student leaders said Saturday in their first estimate of how many demonstrators were detained.

The announcement by the Council of Student Protesters could raise the official death toll in the protests to three. The students did not provide further information on the latest reported death.

Authorities have said that only two people, a soldier and a cleric, were killed in the unrest.

The students did not say how they arrived at their count of 1,400 arrests, and the government has not provided figures.

The unrest began when police stormed a Tehran University dormitory on July 8, hours after students rallied against the banning of a liberal newspaper. One person was killed and 20 were injured in the clash, which hard-line clerics apparently backed.

The next day thousands of students protested in the streets of Tehran, and within days the demonstrations swelled and spread to eight other cities. Riot police began cracking down on July 12.

The protests highlighted the struggle between reformists in the government, led by President Mohammad Khatami, and the conservatives who control the police, judiciary and broadcast media.

The student council said Saturday it planned to meet with the Supreme National Security Council, which is headed by Khatami. The students did not say when they would meet.

Also Saturday, the reformist newspaper Neshat reported that police had detained three dissidents, identified as Khosrow Seif, Behzad Namazi and Mehran Mirabdolbaghi.

They belong to the small Iran Nation Party, whose leader, Dariush Foruhar, and his wife were stabbed to death in their home late last year. The authorities have arrested rogue Intelligence Ministry agents in the killings.

In a separate statement, the student council reiterated its demand for the resignation of the national police chief, Hedayat Lotfian, whom they blame for the raid on the hostel.

A leading conservative body, the Association of Qom Seminary Theologians, called on the government Saturday to seek out the ``revengeful enemies″ behind the protests.

The clerics thanked Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for quelling the unrest which was ``about to become a national catastrophe,″ the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.