Protests in Iran
Photo: AFP

Renewed clashes in Tehran

Police disperse pro-Mousavi rioters claiming election fraud; various sources present glaringly different accounts of activist arrests

Renewed altercations broke out in Iran on Sunday as 200 supporters of pro-reform presidential challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi clashed with police in Tehran.


Reelected incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to give a press conference and then a formal speech at a rally in the capital city later Sunday.


Ahmadinejad supporters in Tehran (Photo: AFP)


A French journalist reported that police were shooting tear gas to disperse protesters, who had gathered in a central street, shouting against Ahmadinejad's reelection and throwing stones at the officers.


According to reports, the cellular telephone network, which was blocked on Saturday and which is pro-reform supporters' chief mode of communication of political information, was working on Sunday morning.


Furthermore, Ahmad Radan, the Iranian deputy police commissioner, refuted reports that Mousavi was on house arrest and told reporters affiliated with the reform movement that the only arrests made had been of a few dozen reformists planning Saturday riots in Tehran.


Earlier in the day, pro-reform activists in Iran had reported that both reformist candidates – Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi – were being held against their will in their homes. More than a hundred reformist activists had been arrested, they said.


"They (the activists) were taken from their homes in the night," said Mohammad Ali Abtahi, the former deputy to former President Mohammad Khatami, who is considered a moderate. Abtahi estimated that more arrests would be made.


'Detainees were creating a riot'

"We arrested about 50 people who were organized and creating a riot. Among them were some with a criminal record," Radan insisted, adding that police were "investigating whether (the planners) have any relation to foreign media."


He also said that 110 protesters had been arrested during the riots. A judiciary spokesman denied even this report, saying that the activists had merely been asked to the police station and told "not to incite tensions."


But human rights groups in Iran reported that hundreds of pro-reform activists had been arrested during their protests and detained in a Tehran prison with an unsavory reputation.


Mousavi supporters, Saturday (Photo: Reuters)


The al-Arabia news agency reported that offices of the reform movement in Iran had been closed for a week, with no explanation.


Tens of thousands of people were thought to have taken part in the post-election riots and fatalities had been reported. In response, one senior police official said that "a number of disruptive organizations would be arrested soon."


According to earlier reports, police also appear poised to close the universities in Iran and increase their force deployment.


פרסום ראשון: 06.14.09, 13:38
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