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Tajikistan accuses Iran of backing murder of prominent Tajiks in 1990s
Central Asia | politics | 11:44, 09 August 2017 | 1337

AKIPRESS.COM - Tajikistan on August 8 accused Iran of backing high-profile killings during the Central Asian nation's civil war in the 1990s, including the assassination of the former chairman of the Tajik parliament, Safarali Kenjaev, in 1999, the RFE/RL reported.

In a 45-minute documentary broadcast on Tajik state television, the Interior Ministry claimed that Tehran was interested in fomenting civil war in Tajikistan and that it provided financial assistance to the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) and trained its militants on Iranian territory.

According to the ministry, Iranian financial support and instructions to carry out assassinations were conveyed to IRPT militants through Khoji Halim Nazarzoda, a former deputy defense minister who was one of the IRPT's commanders in the 1990s. Nazarzoda was killed in September 2015 during an anticoup operation near the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

A number of Tajik public figures and 20 Russian officers were assassinated between 1997 and 2004.

A man who introduced himself as a former Islamic party fighter in the documentary said that he traveled to Iran in 1995 and received sabotage training along with 200 compatriots in the city of Qom. He said he returned to Tajikistan in 1997 with clear instructions to kill political and public figures.

Iran and Russia acted as mediators in the Tajik negotiation process that ended the five-year civil war in 1997.

The documentary aired amid tensions between Tajikistan and Iran over Tehran's support for the IRPT, which the Supreme Court of Tajikistan has declared a terrorist group.

Tensions have flared between Tajikistan and Iran in the past, with Dushanbe suspecting Tehran's diplomats for carrying out excessive activity in the country.

But the documentary represents the first time Dushanbe has openly accused Iran of financing and directing political murders that happened two decades ago.

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