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Iran: Khatami Condemns Terrorist Acts

Tehran, 4 January 1999 (RFE/RL) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami today condemned acts of terrorism. Tehran radio quoted Khatami making the remark after meeting with Pakistani Deputy Foreign Minister Shemshad Ahmad Khan in Tehran. He spoke after unknown gunmen opened fire on Ramadan worshippers in a crowded Shi'ite mosque in the central Pakistani city of Multan early today. At least 16 people were killed in the attack and at least 25 others were wounded. Relations between Iran and Pakistan have been marred by terrorist attacks against Iranian nationals in Pakistan in recent years. The attacks have been carried out by suspected religious extremists. Khatami also denounced what he called the "outlaw attitude" of the Pakistani-backed Taliban militia, which controls most of Afghanistan. He said that Iran and Pakistan must cooperate in the United Nations to try to find a way to settle the Afghan conflict. He said the only solution is to set up a coalition government in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Iran's Interior Ministry said today that some 330,000 people have registered to run in municipal elections next month. The number is far fewer than the government's estimate of 800,000.

Registration ended last night. The polls will be the first of their kind since the 1979 Islamic revolution. They are considered important as they will allow Iranians to elect 200,000 mayors and local councillors in municipalities throughout the country -- a significant strengthening of local constituencies ahead of next year's parliamentary elections.