28 Dec

Iran Today

Iran seizes opposition figures

Outspoken critics of the government arrested after a day of violent clashes in Tehran.


Iran Cleric’s Funeral Becomes Opposition Protest


An Iranian opposition website says security forces have clashed with supporters of late dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri in at least two cities, including his birthplace.

“Sporadic clashes started from Tuesday night in Najafabad and still continued. The situation is tense in the city. People are chanting anti-government slogans,” the Jaras website reported.

It also said “many” demonstrators were injured during clashes with the security forces in the central city of Isfahan.

“Security forces clashed with pro-reform protesters … who gathered to commemorate … Montazeri’s demise,” Jaras reported.

“Police fired teargas to disperse people … many people were injured … some arrested.”

“Over 50 protesters, including four Iranian journalists have been arrested in Isfahan during clashes with the security forces,” the Parlemannews website said.

In Isfahan, plainclothes security agents surrounded the house of a leading pro-reform cleric Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri, Jaras reported.

The reported incidents took place two days after huge crowds turned out in the Shiite holy city of Qom for the funeral of Montazeri and many chanted anti-government slogans, websites reported.

The reports from the two cities could not be verified independently because foreign media are banned from reporting directly on protests.

Iran’s government supporters staged counter rallies in Qom on Tuesday, official Iranian media reported.

Montazeri, who died on Saturday at the age of 87, was an architect of the 1979 revolution that overthrew the US-backed shah and was once named to succeed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as supreme leader of the Islamic state.

But Montazeri fell from grace after criticising the mass execution of prisoners.

The June 12 presidential election, which the opposition leaders say was rigged to secure President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election, has plunged the Islamic Republic into a crisis of legitimacy.

Supporters of the opposition, who have seized occasions marked in the Islamic revolutionary calendar to raise their voices, staged fresh anti-government rallies in Iran after Montazeri’s death.

Iranian authorities deny any vote-rigging.


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