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JAILED CLERIC QUESTIONS IRAN LEADERSHIP

Jailed reformist cleric Abdollah Nouri questioned Iran's anti-U.S. stance and challenged the country's supreme clerical leader in an open letter published by newspapers Monday.

"What material or religious advantage has our people gained from slogans such as 'Death to America'? . . . Is it a principled stand to isolate the country and block foreign and domestic investment?" Nouri, jailed on dissent charges by a hard-line court, said in the letter written in his prison cell.

Nouri -- sentenced on charges that included advocating renewed ties to Iran's arch-foe, the United States -- remained defiant, saying that all he had said and published was "only a small part of the righteous demands of the people."

The letter came days after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated Tehran's hostile stance against Washington.

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