World News

Iran ex-minister severely injured in knife attack

TEHRAN (Reuters) - A reformist former government minister was severely wounded in a knife attack at his office in a Tehran university on Monday, Iranian news agencies reported.

An opposition website, Jaras, described Ahmad Motamedi as the “green professor,” suggesting he supported opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, whose followers adopted this color in last year’s disputed presidential election.

Motamedi was telecommunications minister during the second four-year term of the 1997-2005 presidency of Mohammad Khatami, himself a leading ally of Mousavi.

The semi-official Mehr news agency said Motamedi was rushed to hospital where he underwent surgery after the attack at Amir Kabir university. The ILNA news agency quoted people close to Motamedi as saying he was in critical condition.

The attacker, in his early 40s, was arrested, Mehr said. It gave no details of a possible motive. Such attacks are relatively rare in the Islamic state.

Last year’s presidential poll was followed by huge protests by Mousavi supporters accusing the authorities of rigging the vote to secure the re-election of hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Thousands of people were detained during the demonstrations.

The authorities denied the opposition’s charges and portrayed the unrest as a foreign-backed bid to undermine the Islamic Republic.

Writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Tim Pearce