Iranian police arrested

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The Independent Online
IRAN'S SECRET police force said last night it had arrested a number of its own agents for the murders of five writers and opposition officials.

The Intelligence Ministry said "with regret" that "a few of our colleagues - irresponsible, devious and obstinate persons - were among those arrested.

"With no doubt these criminals were acting for the interests of foreigners and the actions of these traitors is quite contrary to the holy mission of the Intelligence Ministry and we condemn it," added the statement. It did not say which countries were involved.

It accused those arrested of "destroying the reputation of the Islamic Republic of Iran." Five dissidents were killed in November and December, including two opposition politicians and two authors who tried to set up a writers' association.

Political analysts said the announcement showed the success of reforms introduced by moderate President Mohammad Khatami since 1997. (AP)