New purge of Iran's armed forces

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The Independent Online
A NEW purge has begun among present and former Iranian armed forces personnel with the arrest of Colonel Nosratollah Tavakkoli, one of the leading officers of the 1979 revolution.

Informed sources told the Independent that at least four other high- raEnking officers, some retired, have also been detained.

Colonel Tavakkoli, educated in Britain and the United States, was THER write errorone of the new regime's first joint chiefs of staffs, but, later turned against the mullahs. He warned the regime that it was facing extinction in articles in opposition newspapers. In a recent 'open letter' to the leaders of the Islamic Republic, Colonel Tavakkoli urged them to 'vacate their seats, to revise the present Islamic Constitution and to give way to those who can save the country from disintegration'.

The Iranian Nation Party (INP), a secular opposition movement led by Dariush Frouhar, confirmed that the Colonel had been arrested a week ago, but had ordered his family not to speak publicly about it.

The new wave of arrests started a day after Ali Fallahyan, the Minister of State Security and Information, made an official visit to Germany. The visit was met with expressions of 'dismay' and 'concern' from Washington and London. But Germany rebutted the criticism, saying that it would repeat such contacts 'if necessary'.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for International Affairs, left Tehran for Baghdad yesterday, underlining the desire by both Iran and Iraq to improve relations.

The visit was planned two weeks ago at a meeting of Iranian and Iraqi foreign ministers in New York. Mr Zarif denied that his visit was aimed at normalising trade relations with Iraq. 'The main subject of discussion will be the fate of our PoWs, the implementation of those clauses of the UN Resolution 598 which have not yet been implemented, and helping to create a better climate of peace and stability in the Persian Gulf,' he told Tehran Radio.