ANKARA, Turkey -- Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's personal representative in the city of Tabriz was assassinated Friday in a suicide attack by a guerrilla who detonated a grenade attached to his own waist, Tehran radio said.
The radio, monitored in Ankara, said six other people were killed and 12 wounded when the blast ripped through a crowd after Moslem Sabbath day prayers in Tabriz, capital of the Turkish-speaking East Azerbaijan province.
The assassination of Ayatollah Sayed Assadollah Madani was the latest in a series of guerrilla attacks to rock Iran's Islamic regime. Dozens of the country's leaders have been killed in bomb attacks.
The government was to begin accepting nominations Saturday for presidential candidates to succeed President Mohammed Ali Rajai, killed two weeks ago in one of the bombings along with his prime minister.
The killing of Madani also followed two days of clashes between leftist Mojahideen Khalq guerrillas and revolutionary guards in Tehran and in the West Azerbaijan town of Oshnovieh.
The official Pars news agency said revolutionary guards killed 70 'counter-revolutionaries,' wounded more than 100 and captured 40 others in fighting Thursday in the West Azerbaijan town of Oshnovieh.
Nine Iranian troops were killed, Pars said in the first report of the Oshnovieh clashes. Neither Tehran radio nor Pars identified the 'counter-revolutionaries.'
Revolutionary Guards and anti-Khomeini guerrillas also fought running gunbattles Thursday in Tehran's bazaar and a main north-south road in a flareup of fighting in the capital, witnesses said. Exile sources said at least 19 guards and nine guerrillas were killed.
Khomeini appointed a new commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Rezai, Pars said.
Khomeini named his representative in Qom, Ayatollah Meshkini, as Madani's successor in Tabriz and ordered him to go to Azerbaijan 'to express (Khomeini's) condolences and greetings,' Pars said.
The attack came a day after a Tabriz firing squad executed Amir Taheri Shokrai, 48, local head of the opposition Unity for Liberty Party, the party said in a statement. Shokrai's West German wife Agnes also was arrested and was in 'danger,' the statement said.
Before Madani's death, Ahmad Baniahmad, leader of the Unity for Liberty Party based in Paris, told UPI in a telephone interview 'the murder of Shokrai shows the regime is frightened of the scale of revolt in the area.'
Baniahmad is said to command support among the Turkish-speaking Azeris in northwest Iran. Neither Pars nor Tehran radio reported the execution of Shokrai, who was managing director for a local subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz.
Tehran radio said Friday prayers had just ended when the assassin approached Madani, Khomeini's representative in the volatile northwestern region, ostensibly to ask a question.
Instead, he pulled the pin from a grenade attached to his waist.
Madani, who also was Tabriz' prayer leader, died in the hospital. The assailant was killed instantly, the radio said.
Tabriz radio, also monitored in Ankara, broadcast an appeal by Azerbaijan Governor-General Taheri urging people to remain alert and maintain calm.
Madani was responsible for carrying out Khomeini's hardline policy against moderate supporters of Ayatollah Sayed Kazem Shariatmadari, now a political exile in Iran's holy city of Qom, and other dissident groups in the province.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but exile sources in Ankara said said the assassination could be in retaliation for the execution of Shokrai.
Responding to the street fighting, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, member of Iran's the ruling presidential council and parliament speaker, told the radio the Mojahideen were 'such ignorant, such idiotic people.'
Tehran radio said 11 guards killed in 'the recent clashes in Tehran' and the war with Iraq were buried Friday.
In London, the Mojahideen Khalq released a statement from its military commander, Musa Khiabani, who said the Islamic regime was 'trying to cover up its defeat by lies and propaganda, such as the show of putting pressure on France' for harboring anti-Khomeini exiles.
Khiabani said Khomeini had executed more opponents in one month than the late Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi had put to death in 37 years of rule.
Khiabani, named military commander by exiled Mojahideen leader Massoud Rajavi, urged supporters 'to tear Khomeini's curtain of lies and deceit.'