Revolutionary Guard on Tuesday
Photo: Reuters
Calls to free Iran in the United States
Photo: AFP

Families of UK diplomats leave Iran

After day of relative quiet, hundreds of supporters of Iranian reformist camp not deterred by Revolutionary Guard threats, mourn in Tehran center. Security forces reportedly use tear gas, live bullets to disperse rally. Meanwhile, UK says withdrawing families of embassy staff in Iran due to violence; Syrian FM: Regime won't fall

The protests surrounding recent Iranian elections have been renewed in the heart of Tehran. Despite threats made by the Revolutionary Guard to crush any protest, hundreds of reformist supporters took to the streets in the center of the Iranian capital Monday afternoon in order to mourn recent riot casualties.


According to unofficial reports coming from Tehran, security forces clashed with the protestors in Haft-e Tir Square and tried to disperse people arriving to light candles there.


Eyewitnesses say riot police are attacking hundreds of protesters with tear gas, and firing live bullets in the air to disperse a rally in central Tehran.

Confrontation between protestors and Revolutionary Guard in Tehran Sunday (Photo: AP)


Helicopters hovered overhead as about 200 protesters gathered at Haft-e-Tir Square Monday. Hundreds of anti-riot police quickly put an end to the demonstration.


Witnesses said police at the scene tried to prevent any gathering, even small groups. At the subway station at Haft-e-Tir, police did not allow anyone to stand still, asking them to keep walking and separating people who were walking together.


Unofficial reports reveal that opposition supporters planned to convene in the square as a sign of mourning for the protestors who lost their lives, forefronted by the young Iranian woman Nada Sultani, who was killed in protests on Saturday and has become a symbol of the opposition's struggle.


"I passed by Haft-e Tir Square and saw some thousand people there," said an eyewitness, who noted that the gathering people there were supporters of defeated reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. Head of the Majlis Legal Committee Ali Shaharokhi said Monday that the path has been paved to put Mousavi on trial for ordering the protests.


"Mousavi's call to protest is illegal and his provocative statements are a source of the recent disturbances in Iran. The groundwork has been laid to put him on trial," quoted the Fars news agency.


Earlier Monday, the Revolutionary Guard threatened to "crush" any disturbance caused by anyone who, according to them, "poses a threat to the revolution and the regime" in the country. In an announcement published on the Revolutionary Guard website, protestors were told "to prepare for revolutionary confrontations" if they returned to the streets.


Iranian national radio reported Monday that at least 457 people have been arrested thus far for participating in the Tehran riots.


Meanwhile, the British Foreign Office said Monday that the UK is withdrawing the families of embassy staff working in Iran as a result of the violence.


"The ongoing violence has had a significant impact on the families of our staff who have been unable to carry on their lives as normal," a Foreign Office spokesman said.


"As a result, we are withdrawing dependents of embassy staff until the situation improves."


Also on Monday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem criticized the street protests, saying the Iran regime will not fall.


"The Iranian people have exercised their right to vote," he said of the elections.


"Protecting Iranian lives cannot be expressed through the incitement to protest," Moallem told a news conference attended by visiting Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen.


"Anyone betting on the fall of the Iranian regime will be a loser," Muallem said.


Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that "according to the officially announced results of Iran's presidential election, it was won by current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad".


"We consider all issues linked to Iran's election as this country's exclusively internal affair. We believe the discords that emerged after the election must be settled in strict conformity with the Islamic Republic's constitution and laws," said the ministry.


Reuters, AFP and AP contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 06.22.09, 17:37
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