Iranian security forces have used batons and tear gas to break up
anti-government protests coinciding with rallies marking the storming
of the U.S. embassy 30 years ago.
Riot police and pro-government militia on motorcycles beat activists in
the streets of Tehran Wednesday. Many injuries have been reported.
Despite the security forces, thousands of Iranians chanted "Death to the Dictator" (in Haft-e Tir square), protesting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Anti-government activists (supporting opposition reformist leader Mir Hossein Moussavi) also rallied in at least 11 other cities, many of them on university campuses.
At one protest, they chanted "Obama, Obama, are you with us, or against
us?" Opposition activists have questioned U.S. President Barack Obama's
effort to open a dialogue with Tehran.
The White House says it is watching the situation closely and hopes the violence will not spread. France's foreign minister (Bernard Kouchner) called the situation "dangerous," expressing worry about the police action.
The rallies are some of the largest demonstrations reported since the
massive street protests against President Ahmadinejad's re-election in
June. Many people were reported killed in the government crackdown, and
more than 1,000 political activists, journalists and other were
Wednesday's rallies took place as thousands of Iranians chanted "Death
to America" and "Death to Israel" at a government-sanctioned rally
outside the former U.S. embassy in Tehran.
They were marking the day in 1979 when Iranian students stormed the
embassy compound and subsequently held 52 Americans hostage for 444
President Obama said, in a statement for the anniversary, the U.S.
wants to move beyond this past, and seeks a relationship with Iran
based on mutual interests and mutual respect.