Witnesses in Iran's capital Tehran say police used tear gas, batons and
water cannons on Saturday in an effort to disperse thousands of
State television confirmed some incidents, saying police clashed with
what it called "rioters" who were trying to stage illegal protests
against presidential election results.
Defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi issued a statement
late Saturday to Iran's top legislative body, repeating his call for
the election's annulment. He did not comment on the protests.
The country's Security Council had told Mr. Mousavi that he will be responsible for "consequences of illegal rallies."
Iran has severely restricted independent media coverage, but witnesses (speaking to VOA's Persian News Network and other news agencies) say
thousands of residents were in the streets Saturday. Witnesses also
reported a heavy police presence, particularly around two Tehran
squares where previous protests were held.
Also Saturday, Iranian state media reported that a suicide bomber
exploded near a shrine to the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the
leader of the country's Islamic revolution, killing the attacker and
wounding at least three people.
Meanwhile, a Facebook page attributed to Mr. Mousavi said he is "ready
for matyrdom." The statement on the page called for a national strike
if he is arrested. It has not been independently verified whether the
online account is in fact Mr. Mousavi's, but previous calls to protest
have appeared there for his supporters.
On Friday, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for an
end to nearly a week of massive street protests by opposition
supporters who claim the June 12th presidential vote was rigged.
Iran's Council of Guardians, a powerful body that supervises the
elections, convened a meeting Saturday to discuss defeated candidates'
concerns. The Council invited Mr. Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohsen
Rezaei, but state media reported that only Rezaei attended.
State television said the council agreed to randomly recount 10-percent
of the ballots in the presence of the candidates' representatives.
Protests involving hundreds of thousands of people at times have turned
violent. Iran has confirmed at least seven protesters were killed
Monday during clashes with pro-government militia. Amnesty
International says it has recorded at least 10 killings.