Clashes, arrests reported as Iran marks revolution anniversary

Iranian security forces clashed with protesters and arrested dozens Feb. 11, as official commemorations were held to mark the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, dissident websites reported. The Rahesabz website said clashes took place at Sadeghieh Square, about a kilometer from where hundreds of thousands of government supporters were gathered at Azadi (Freedom) Square. Witnesses said security forces fired tear gas and paint balls at crowds of protesters at several sites. Many protesters were waving green flags and chanting “Death to the dictator.”

The cars of former president Mohammad Khatami and pro-reform leader Mehdi Karroubi reportedly came under attack by police and plainclothes security men, but neither was hurt. Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of pro-reform leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, was attacked and suffered injuries to her head and back from punches and baton blows, according to Mousavi’s official website, Kaleme. Mousavi himself was said to have been barred by police from joining the rally.

The Rahesabz website also said Khatami’s brother, Mohammad Reza, and his wife, Zahra Eshraghi (Eshraqi), were briefly detained by security forces. Significantly, is a granddaughter of the Islamic Revolution’s founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The Jaras website also reported Eshraghi’s arrest, and said a son of Karroubi was also detained.

Another pro-reform site, Norooz, said 30 people were arrested in one Tehran square. Protests were also reported from other cities, including Mashhad, Ahvaz, Shiraz and Esfahan. About 100 arrests were made in Mashhad, dissident websites said. Official media made no mention of clashes or arrests, and state TV said millions attended official rallies in support of the Revolution. (Washington TV, Feb. 12; Reuters, Feb. 10)

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