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Wednesday, June 9, 1999 Published at 22:53 GMT 23:53 UK

World: Middle East

Contaminated blood AIDS trial in Iran

The trial has begun in Tehran of a former head of the Iranian blood transfusion centre, and other officials, over allegations that haemophiliac patients, many of them children, died following transfusions of blood contaminated with the HIV virus, that can cause AIDS.

The prosecution alleges that hundreds of people contracted diseases through the transfusions.

It says the officials were negligent in screening the blood and in importing contaminated blood from France.

There was uproar in the court when the main defendant, Dr Mohammed Farhadi, alleged that some of the children who died could have contracted hepatitis or HIV virus from their parents and demanded that the parents be tested for the virus.

The trial has been adjourned for twenty days. Correspondents say AIDS is a highly sensitive issue in Islamic Iran.

Earlier this year three politicans in France were tried for manslaughter in a scandal over HIV contaminated blood transfusions.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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