100 killed as Iranian religious conflicts smoulder

A FIRE which raged for about five hours inside the perimeter of Tehran's Evin prison after a huge explosion there on Friday night has added to the growing sense of instability and religious intolerance in Iran.

A revolutionary guerrilla group inside Iran, the Babak Khorramindin Organisation (BKO), claimed responsibility for the blast, but the Iranian news agency, Irna, quoted the head of prisons as saying that a short-circuit had led to a fire setting off mines near the prison wall.

Yesterday reports reached the West of violent demonstrations last week in Najaf-Abad, near Isfahan, between the Law and Order Forces and local people. Despite an official news blackout, the reports said that more than 100 people had been killed in the fighting and more than 1,000 arrested.

The demonstrations in Najaf-Abad started last week after the regime imprisoned the new Friday imam of the city, Hojatoleslam Izadi, a follower of the dissident Grand Ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri, who is under house arrest in Qom.

Informed religious sources said that five men who were hanged last Wednesday in Qom were pro-Montazeri mullahs, who had protested against the blood-letting in Najaf-Abad.

The Evin prison became notorious during the rule of the late Shah of Iran as a place where political prisoners were held. It continued to be used by the government after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The BKO guerrillas said that the blast at the prison had been carried out as a reprisal for the bombing of the Imam Reza Shrine in the north-eastern city of Mashad on 20 June in which 26 people died.

The government has said that the attack on the shrine, the murder of two Christian ministers and several foiled bombings are all part of a campaign directed by the Iraqi- based opposition group, the Mujahedin Khalq.

'Murders, explosions, killing of senior Christian clerics were to be blamed on the people or the government or Sunnis or Shias, so that people would say sectarian conflicts are aggravated,' said Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, Iran's most senior judge.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk