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Clashes in Tehran as Protesters Defy Demonstration Ban


Iranian police clashed with demonstrators in Tehran Thursday, as thousands of protesters defied government orders and massed in two locations to mourn those killed in post-election violence.

Witnesses say police with batons and tear gas moved in as at least 2,000 people gathered at the Grand Mosalla, an open-air prayer venue in central Tehran.

Defeated Iranian presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi had asked to hold a silent ceremony there to mark the 40th day since a deadly crackdown on street protests. Authorities denied their request.

Iran's state-run Press TV reported that police used tear gas to disperse protesters at a demonstration earlier in the day at Tehran's Behesht-e Zahra cemetery.

People on the scene say thousands of mourners had gathered in the cemetery and that police detained several mourners there.

Mr. Mousavi and Karroubi attended that gathering separately. Witnesses say police surrounded Mr. Mousavi and forced him back into his car, as opposition supporters chanted slogans supporting the defeated candidate.

The mother of slain Iranian Neda Agha-Soltan was expected to visit the cemetery to mark the 40th day since her daughter's death. Neda Agha-Soltan became a symbol for reformist demonstrators after a graphic video posted on the Internet showed her die after being shot during a post-election protest in Tehran.

Iranian lawmakers say 30 people were killed in the unrest and protests that followed Iran's disputed June 12 election.

Official election results handed incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a landslide victory. The political opposition alleges fraud, but Iranian authorities say Mr. Ahmadinejad's re-election was fair.

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