Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 118

According to the acting leader of the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan, identified as Haji Mehdi, the IPA’s Supreme Council has been replaced almost in its entirety by a Provisional Supreme Council comprised of new leaders. Many supporters of the former leaders are also leaving the party, Haji Mehdi told a Baku weekly in an interview. The new leadership plans to hold a party conference in August to reshape the IPA, although it will probably retain the imprisoned Alikram Aliev as party chairman. Mehdi disclaimed any intention to build an Islamic state — "it would be absurd in a country where Muslim traditions are not observed" — and insisted the IPA never did or would resort to force against the government, despite the latter’s "negative" attitude toward Islam. Mehdi also denied any links to Iranian intelligence, described IPA’s links to Iran as purely religious, and defended the innocence of the IPA activists imprisoned last year. (Yeni Musavat (Baku), June 10-16)

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