Armed opponents of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini shot and killed a religious leader and two of his bodygyards Sunday in a street execution witnessed by dozens of passers-by.
The official Islamic Republic news agency identified the victim as Hojjatoleslam Mohammed Salim Hosni, an official of the reconstruction crusade, a state-run welfare agency.
Witnesses of the central Tehran killing said gunmen dressed as revolutionary guards stopped a car carrying Hosni and his two bodyguards, then ordered him to produce his identification papers.
When Hosni produced the papers one of the assailants said to the other, 'That's him alright,' according to a witness to the shooting.
The gunmen then ordered all three to leave the car but they refused to do so. One of the assailants, who was carrying a sub-machinegun then pumped several rounds of gunfire into the car, instantly killing Hosni and the bodyguards.
The killings reflected a new style of assassination adopted by the armed opponents of Khomeni's regime.
On March 8, two gunmen disguised as a mullah and his guard shot and killed Mohammed Chavoushi, chief of the political and ideological office of the Iranian navy. The two attacks have been the most serious incidents in Iran this year after a spate of assasinations last year following the ouster of President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr.
Iranian official media did not say who was responsible for the latest attack, but most assassinations of government officials since Bani-Sadr's ouster in June 1981 have been blamed by the regime on the leftist Mojahideen Khalq guerrilla group.
Massoud Rajavi, the Mojahideen's leader in exile in Paris, claims his followers account for most of the 8,000 dissidents executed by the regime since June.