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Iran: Pollster Summoned Over Survey On U.S. Ties

Tehran, 2 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The head of an Iranian polling center is due in court today to answer questions about a survey which showed three-quarters of Iranians supported opening talks with the U.S. The state-owned "Iran" newspaper reported today that Behrouz Geranpayeh has said the poll was commissioned by Iran's parliament. His National Institute for Research Studies and Opinion Polls was sealed off by court officials on 30 September.

The poll has been highly criticized by Iran's conservative media, which opposes improving ties with Washington. The head of the Iran's official IRNA news agency, Abdollah Nasseri, appeared in court on Monday to answer charges about publishing the poll.

"Iran" says Nasseri and Geranpayeh are being charged with "publishing lies to excite public opinion."