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Iranian Police Arrest 7 Prominent Activists


Iranian opposition groups say authorities have arrested at least seven prominent reformists as part of a new crackdown on anti-government protests, following demonstrations in which at least eight people were killed.

Opposition Web sites say three advisers to Iran's opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi were detained Monday (, including his top aide, Ali Riza Beheshti), as well as a human rights campaigner (Emad Baghi) a former foreign minister (Ebrahim Yazdi) and others.

Iran's state-run Press TV says sources have confirmed that some opposition figures were arrested.

Opposition Web sites reported sporadic clashes Monday between opposition supporters and police in central Tehran.

Iran's Press TV Monday posted the names of six of the eight people police say were killed in anti-government protests Sunday at the climax of Ashura, a solemn Shi'ite religious observance.


Press TV reports the victims of Sunday's violence ranged in age from 30 to 50. It says three were shot, one was stabbed, one fell to her death or was struck by a car, while the other three died in unknown circumstances.

Police officials (including Iran's deputy police chief Ahmad Reza Radan) are denying charges by opposition groups that security forces fired on demonstrators.

Voice of America has received amateur video from Iranians in several cities that appear to support witness accounts of violence.

Among those killed Sunday was Ali Mousavi, a nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. The late nephew's brother (Reza) told VOA (Persian News Network) the body has disappeared from a hospital in Tehran.

Sunday's violence was the most serious in Iran since protests after the country's disputed election in June, which gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term in office.

No independent confirmation of casualty or arrest reports was possible since Iran has barred foreign media from covering the demonstrations.

Witnesses say Iranian protesters fought back against security forces Sunday in several locations, throwing stones, beating up policemen and setting their vehicles on fire.

Opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi sharply criticized the government's use of force. In a statement (Monday), Karroubi, himself a cleric, asked how Iran's clerical leaders could order the killing of their own people during Ashura. He said even Iran's ousted former monarch, the shah, respected the Shi'ite Muslim holy day by avoiding conflict with opposition activists at such times.

Tehran residents report Internet, mobile phone and text messaging services were not functioning normally Monday. Opposition supporters often rely on such technology to coordinate plans.

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