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Iranian Security Forces, Mourners Clash in Isfahan, Other Cities


Reports from Iran say security forces have clashed with protesters and mourners of the late Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri in the city of Isfahan, and dozens of arrests were made. There are scattered reports of unrest in other Iranian cities, as well.

Tensions between Iranian security forces and a large gathering of mourners come to honor the late Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri in the city of Isfahan erupted into violent clashes, with reports of dozens of arrests.

Opposition website Parlamannews reported 50 people were arrested, including a number of journalists covering the memorial to Montazeri, who died Saturday. Police also surrounded the Seyyed mosque where the memorial was due to be held.

An eyewitness told Radio Farda the scene was chaotic, as security forces pushed back, then roughed up the crowd, trying to prevent a memorial address by Ayatollah Taheri from taking place.

He says Ayatollah Taheri was surrounded and forced to remain inside his house by a large contingent of security forces, as crowds waited outside for the memorial.

Other eyewitnesses say thousands of people had swarmed the streets leading to the Seyyed Mosque at the same time Basij militiamen and anti-riot police were attempting to close off the neighborhood and prevent the memorial from taking place.

Other eyewitnesses say thousands of people had swarmed the streets leading to the Seyyed Mosque at the same time Basij militiamen and anti-riot police were attempting to close off the neighborhood and prevent the memorial from taking place.

Opposition websites say the opposition cleric who was to have led the memorial was also arrested. The home of a top religious figure in Isfahan was also surrounded.

Earlier, top Iran police official Esmail Ahmedi-Moghadam told journalists the opposition must "stop its illegal activities" or police would stop them:

He tells the opposition to stop massing crowds and creating an illegal situation or else they will be confronted by the full force of the law.

Exiled former Iranian President Abolhasan Bani Sadr says the opposition demonstrations are getting larger and encompassing more of the country:

He says that the government attacked mourners at the mosque in Isfahan, student demonstrators in Tehran, and demonstrators in Najafabad, Qom, and Sirjan with reports of casualties in Sirjan. The security forces, he says, attacked mourners just because they were shouting slogans against the government.

Mr. Bani Sadr, who now lives in France, says he thinks there is growing dissension inside the government, and that "many inside the powerful Revolutionary Guard are opposed to government repression." The army is "remaining quiet," he adds, "to reassure the public that civil war will not break out."

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