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Iran's government spokesman hopes Information Ministry's study will shed light on polling case

Tehran, Jan 1, IRNA -- Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh here Wednesday hoped that Information Ministry's investigation into the recent controversial Iran-US polling would shed light on the case.

Ramezanzadeh said the head of Tehran Justice Department had provided President Khatami with evidence relating to the case and his excellency had referred certain segments of the report to Information Ministry for expert study on possible espionage and security breaches.

He declined to comment on the outcome of the issue, saying one should wait and see what would the court verdict would be.

He said government had not been provided with any updated information on the case.

The official also refused to answer a question on the case of Behrouz Geranpayeh, who has been accused of spying and collaborating with an armed opposition group and his institute -- National Institute for Research and Opinion Polls -- has been shut down.

Others, including journalist Abbas Abdi, have also been arrested and are being investigated for links to the controversial poll.

Abdi appeared at his second court hearing here at Bench 1410 of Tehran Administrative Employees Court on Sunday to respond to the fourth clause of the public prosecutor's indictment concerning charges of collecting and keeping secret documents.

Abdi's first trial was held last Wednesday when the public prosecutor accused him of 'selling information and tampering with the results of the polling'.

Abdi, his colleague at Ayandeh research institute Hossein Qazian and Geranpayeh, were apprehended last month following an opinion poll they had directed which claimed that two-thirds of citizens in Tehran favored resumption of talks with the US.

Also involved in the case is Alireza Alavitabar who has not been detained.

... Payvand News - 1/1/03 ... --

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