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Over 1,000 Students Attacked at Gathering Monday in Iran - 2002-12-09

An estimated 150 Iranian hardliners attacked and broke up a large student gathering Monday at a university in Tehran as students called for the release of political prisoners. The violence erupted following a student's criticism of the Islamic revolution.

Some of the hardliners reportedly used pepper spray and sticks as weapons while attacking about 1,500 students who had gathered at Amir Kabir University in Tehran Monday.

Several students and one hardliner were reportedly injured as fights broke out between the hardliners and the students.

The trouble erupted after a student leader reportedly criticized the outcome of the 1979 Islamic revolution, suggesting that because of it, Iranians are paying the price.

Two weeks of student demonstrations, and some counter protests by religious hardliners, were triggered last month following the death sentence given to Islamic academic and pro-reform history professor Hashem Aghajari. Iran's highest appeals court has said it will review the sentence.

Students have since been barred from demonstrating on Iranian streets but are allowed to hold meetings on campus, which is reportedly what was happening Monday. The hardliners have generally intervened when students have directly criticized Iran's religious leadership.