Iranian opposition media reports clashes with police

Iranian security forces reportedly clashed with opposition supporters in two central cities, opposition websites claimed.

Iranian opposition media reports clashes with police
Iranian security forces reportedly clashed with opposition supporters in two central cities to mourn the late dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri on Wednesday, opposition websites claimed.

The opposition Jaras website said many demonstrators were injured and arrests were made during clashes in the city of Isfahan, which occurred when Montazeri supporters gathered for the traditional third day of mourning for him.

"Police fired teargas to disperse people ... many people were injured ... some arrested," Jaras said.

Another opposition website, Parlemannews, said at least 50 opposition backers, including four journalists, were arrested in Isfahan, one of Iran's biggest and most historic cities.

Security forces surrounded a mosque there to stop people entering, the Rah-e Sabz website said.

"Montazeri mourners shouted slogans against the top authorities," it said.

The authorities deny vote rigging charges and have portrayed the huge opposition protests that erupted after the poll as a foreign-backed bid to topple the Islamic establishment.

Despite scores of arrests and security crackdowns, opposition protests have repeatedly flared up since the vote.

Referring to the city where Montazeri was born, Jaras said: "Sporadic clashes started from Tuesday night in Najafabad and still continued. The situation is tense in the city. People are chanting anti-government slogans."

In nearby Isfahan, Jaras said plainclothes security agents surrounded the house of a leading opposition cleric, Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri.

But, Reuters news agency said the opposition reports from Isfahan and Najafabad could not be verified independently because foreign media are banned from reporting directly on protests.

Government supporters staged counter rallies in Qom on Tuesday and Wednesday, condemning "the insult against sanctities" during Montazeri's funeral procession, official media reported.

"This is the last time that something like that will happen in Qom. This is not a place for hypocrites," Grand Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani told the crowd, state television said.

Meanwhile, Mir Hossein Mousavi, the main Iranian opposition leader who went head-to-head with Ahmadinejad in the disputed election, has been sacked from his government post.

Mousavi was dismissed as the president of Iran's Academy of Art - a post he has held since its inception in 1999.

Ahmadinejad heads the council that sacked Mousavi.

Montazeri, who died on Saturday at the age of 87 in the holy city of Qom.


Agencies
Last Mod: 23 Aralık 2009, 16:51
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