The violent and often bloody clashes between supporters of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Kazem Shariat-Madari have raised fears of a civil war in the country's trouble Azerbaijan province.
SV PAN: Taxi blocking Umriyeh streets and drivers shouting (2 shots)
MV: West Azerbaijan Governor General Jamshid Haqgu speaking in English
MV: Ayatollah Shariat-Madari speaking in Farsi
HAQGU: "In the beginning there was a minor problem, but on one hand the authorities, they mishandled the problem, and they made it into a problem like in Kurdistan. And on the other hand, again, some groups (indistinct) took advantage of the situation, so they took over the television and radio, which I think was an unnecessary thing, and a situation developed which became out of control.
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Background: The violent and often bloody clashes between supporters of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Kazem Shariat-Madari have raised fears of a civil war in the country's trouble Azerbaijan province. Ayatollah Shariat-Madari, the unofficial leader of the province, said on Thursday (13 December) that there could be civil war if the government in Teheran mishandled the problem. The trouble erupted over a new constitution, which gives sweeping powers to revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Followers of the Ayatollah Shariat-Madari put forward a ten-point plan calling for amendments to the constitution, but so far Ayatollah Khomeini has not given them a positive response.
SYNOPSIS: Not everything in the Azerbaijan province agree with the dissidents--pro-Khomeini taxi drivers blocked a central street in Umriyeh on thursday (13 December) in protest against the actions of Ayatollah Shariat-Madari's Moslem People's Republican party (MPRP). The taxi drivers believe the MPRP is r responsible for the deaths in earlier clashes between rival MPRP and Khomeini supporters. West Azerbaijan Governor General Jamshid Haqgu called the incidents a tragedy.....
On Saturday (15 December) Ayatollah Shariat-Madari singled out self rule for the Azerbaijan province as the most important problem facing Iran. His supporters want the Teheran government to consult the Ayatollah on all major government appointment in the province.