Iran Cracks Down on Opponents after Deadly Protests

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Agence France-Presse

Iran Cracks Down on Opponents after Deadly Protests


Iranian security forces on motorcycles surround opposition protesters during clashes in Tehran. The White House on Sunday strongly condemned "violent and unjust suppression" of civilians in Iran, following a fierce government crackdown on opposition protests. (AFP)

TEHRAN – Iran's government cracked
down on its opponents Monday, websites said, arresting two outspoken
critics as well as several aides to main opposition leaders after eight
people died in fierce clashes in Tehran.

Opposition website
Rahesabz said that Ebrahim Yazdi, who served as foreign minister in the
early months of the 1979 Islamic revolution, and award-winning rights
campaigner and journalist Emadeddin Baghi, were both arrested Monday.

website Parlemannews meanwhile said Iranian authorities had also
rounded up several aides to reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami and
opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Police had previously
said at least 300 people were arrested during Sunday's protests, which
turned into the bloodiest showdown between protesters and security
forces in months.

State-run English language Press TV on Monday
put the death toll from the skirmishes at eight, quoting an official
with Iran's Supreme National Security Council. It did not specify in
which cities the victims were killed.

Iranian state television
earlier gave a contradictory toll of at least 15 killed in the capital
alone, branding 10 among them as members of "anti-revolutionary
terrorist" groups.

Meanwhile, the body of Mousavi's nephew,
Seyed Ali Mousavi, who was killed in Sunday's clashes, has been
transferred from the hospital to an unknown location, his brother said.

"My brother's body was taken away from the hospital and we cannot find it," Seyed Reza Mousavi told Parlemannews.

"Nobody accepts responsibility for taking away the body ... We cannot have a funeral before we find the body."

opposition said Seyed Ali Mousavi was among those killed when security
forces opened fire with live rounds after firing tear gas and using
batons against protesters in central Tehran.

Another opposition
leader, Mehdi Karroubi, on Monday condemned what he termed the
"despicable violence" and accused the government of "dipping its hand
in people's blood and unleashing a savage group on the people."

and disrespecting the law and people's rights have inflicted
irreversible costs for seven months on the country and people,"
Karroubi said in a statement carried by Rahesabz opposition website.

crackdown followed stern warnings by the authorities that they would
crush attempts to use processions linked to Sunday's commemorations for
Ashura, Shiite Islam's holiest day, as a launchpad for protests.

of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's June 12 re-election, which they say
was massively rigged, have used a series of government-backed public
events to mount protests, many of which have ended in clashes with

The arrest of Yazdi, secretary general of the outlawed
but tolerated Iran Freedom Movement, and Baghi, who has campaigned for
years for prisoners' rights and against the death penalty, is seen as a
crackdown on the opposition in the wake of the protests.

agents treated Baghi's family and daughters very offensively as they
arrested him," Rahesabz said. Baghi had backed Karroubi in June

Yazdi "was arrested at home and taken to an unknown place early Monday morning by security agents," the website said.

"He was summoned to an intelligence ministry office (last) Monday but did not go," it added, without elaborating.

78, is an outspoken critic of Ahmadinejad and has previously been
jailed, including for a brief period during mass street protests in
June against the president's re-election.

Parlemannews named
the Khatami aides arrested as Morteza Haji and Hasan Rasoolid and said
they run his non-governmental Baran organisation.

advisors Alireza Beheshti, (Ghorban) Behzadian-Nejad and (Mohammad)
Bagherian were also arrested in the morning," the website added.

Tehran's crackdown on protesters again drew international criticism.

The White House strongly condemned "violent and unjust suppression" of civilians.

blunt statement contrasted with careful initial responses by Washington
after election protests in June and came as the showdown with Iran over
its controversial nuclear programme reached a critical point.

German government on Monday condemned what it said was a "brutal" state
crackdown demanded Tehran stop the bloodshed and work to cool tensions.

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