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Abbas Abdi stands trial over polling case


Tehran, Dec 25, IRNA -- A packed court here Wednesday started trial of Abbas Abdi who is held over a polling which claimed most Iranians favored ties with the United States.

The trial started at Bench 1410 of the Tehran general court and the plaintiff in the case read out his indictment, accusing Abdi of "selling information and tampering with the polling".

Besides Abdi's family, several MPs, including Parliament's Vice-Speaker and head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), Mohammad Reza Khatami, attended the court trial.

The case, which also involves three other people, is related to a survey published by the Ayandeh research institute which claimed most Iranians favored dialogue with the United States.

The court has accused the defendants of carrying out the research on the order of the Washington-based Gallup Organization.

Other people involved in the case are Hossein Qazian and Alireza Alavitabar, both related to the Ayandeh research institute. The fourth defendant in the case, Behrouz Geranpayeh, who is the head of the National Institute for Research and Opinion Polls, faces similar charges which have yet to be brought against him.

Qazian, Abdi and Geranpayeh are held in detention, but Alavitabar has not been arrested yet.

Abdi is a member of the IIPF and former student leader in the takeover of US embassy in Tehran. His arrest came on the 23rd anniversary of the takeover.

Tehran and Washington have held no diplomatic ties since 1979 after the US severed its relations with the Islamic Republic after 'Students Following the Line of Imam' stormed the US embassy, known as the den of espionage, and took its staff hostage.

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