Police fired tear gas to disperse opposition supporters who gathered for Friday prayers at Tehran University July 17. Presiding over the prayers was Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who took the occasion to call for the release of all those arrested in the recent protests. In his first Friday sermon since the vote, he also said large numbers of Iranians still doubted the election results. (BBC News, LAT, July 17) Meanwhile, Israel has sent two Saar-class missile ships through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea, in what Israeli media are calling a “message” to Tehran. (The Telegraph, July 16)
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Tehran: more protest and repression
Iranian police clashed with mourners at a memorial service for people killed in last month’s post-election violence July 30. Crowds had gathered to mark the 40th day after the death of Neda Agha Soltan, 27, who was shot dead on June 20 as she observed protests. Police moved in as crowds massed around a major open-air prayer venue in central Tehran and a major thoroughfare nearby, defying a ban on the planned memorial ceremony. Police used tear gas and batons against thousands of protesters on Vali Asr Street who shouted “Death to the dictator!” and “Free the political prisoners!” Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi tried to join the mourners, but was barred by police. (BBC News, AFP, July 30)