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Rebels claim followers executed in Iran

ATHENS, Greece -- The Iranian rebel group Mojahedin Khalq said Thursday that scores of its followers have been executed in Iran during the past few weeks.

The Mojahedin Khalq, opposed to spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, said Iranian authorities executed 'dozens of prisoners' in Tehran, Gohardasht, Salmas, Khoy and Shahr Kord, and more than 80 dissidents in seven other cities.

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In a statement from Baghdad, the Iraq-based rebel group said the executions were carried out primarily by firing squad and hanging, including four women publicly hanged in Amol.

There was no immediate confirmation from the government or independent sources in Iran. The Tehran newspaper Kayhan reported six executions over the past month, mainly of criminals sentenced to death for murder.

A Mojahedin spokesman, speaking to United Press International in Athens in a telephone interview, said the group's information came from sources inside Iran.

'In an effort to prevent the news of the mass killings of political prisoners from becoming known, the Khomeini regime has cancelled all family visits to political prisoners,' the group said in its statement. 'Many prisoners are now on hunger strike,' it said.

The group's spokesman said authorities in Iran also recently executed 12 clergymen following intensified factional infighting.

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'The executions were carried out by Khomeini's personal orders,' he said.

The Mojahedin statement was the third since Oct. 24 claiming authorities in Iran were carrying out mass executions of rebel supporters.

The executions apparently were in reprisal for the cross-border attack conducted by the National Liberation Army of Iran in late July. The NLAI is the military wing of the Mojahedin. An estimated 25,000 rebel troops took part in fierce battles against Iranian government forces before pulling back into Iraq.

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