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Report: Iran To Release More Opposition Detainees

Cleric Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a member of the Assembly of Combatant Clerics, sitting in a Tehran courtroom in August
TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran will soon release a group of prominent opposition figures detained after the disputed June presidential election, including Iranian-American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Thousands of people, including former officials and senior reformist figures, were detained after the election. Most have since been freed, but more than 100 remain in jail accused of orchestrating street unrest after the vote.

"About 20 detainees whose preliminary prosecutions have been completed will be freed soon on bail," IRNA reported an unnamed source at the judiciary as saying on October 4 without elaborating.

Tajbakhsh was accused of espionage and acting against national security.

The report said former vice-president Mohammad Ali Abtahi, journalist Mohammad Atrianfar, reformist Mosharekat party member Saeed Shariati and student activist Abdollah Momeni would also be released on bail.

Another senior reformer Saeed Hajjarian, accused of fomenting opposition protests after the poll, was freed on bail late last month after more than three months in detention.

Hajjarian, disabled since an assassination attempt in 2000 and an ally of reformist former President Mohammad Khatami, was one of several prominent opposition figures who have been put on trial charged with inciting post-election unrest.

The presidential poll, which was followed by huge opposition protests, plunged Iran into its deepest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution. The moderate opposition says it was rigged to secure Ahmadinejad's re-election. Officials deny it.

Defeated moderate candidates say the vote was rigged to secure hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election. They also say some detainees were abused in jail.

A reformist website Mowjcamp also reported that student activists who were detained after a meeting in Tehran were released on October 3, one day after being detained.

They were arrested after two large student gatherings at universities in Tehran to protest against Ahmadinejad's re-election and show support for opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi.