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Cartoonist's name appears on assassination list

(CRN/IFEX) - On 26 October 2003, editorial cartoonist Nikahang Kowsar's name was reported to have appeared just below that of recently named Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi on an assassination list issued by one of Iran's militant Islamic groups.

President Mohammad Khatami's brother also appears on the list. The group behind the death threat has not executed anyone since the late 1990s, but there is speculation that their credibility may currently be at stake. A recently concluded agreement with United Nations nuclear site inspectors has infuriated hardliners, who see the agreement as a threat to their traditional hold on the country's security. This may have prompted the Islamic militants to choose this moment to issue the threat. The group threatened to kill the 10 individuals named on the list, "for the good of Islam, wherever they [may be found] in the world." Some of those on the list are in countries that are providing them with asylum. Police in those countries are being informed of the threat.

In May, CRN warned of the existence of a similar list and stated that an organisation named the Children of Navab Safavi had claimed responsibility for the list.

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