Anti-US rally in Tehran

Anti-US rally in Tehran

Supporters of opposition leader Mousavi clash with police

Reformist website Mowjcamp said the police opened fire on protesters at Haft-e Tir square, but there was no independent confirmation. “Some people were injured,” Mowjcamp said.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and their allied Basij militia had warned the opposition to avoid using anti-US rallies to revive protests against the clerical establishment after June’s disputed presidential election.

“Police clashed with hundreds of protesters. They were chanting: ‘Death to dictators’. The police used batons to disperse them,” a witness said.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, locked in a row with the West over Iran’s nuclear programme, won a second term. Washington says Iran seeks a nuclear weapon, a charge Tehran denies, and has threatened more sanctions through the United Nations.

The turmoil after the June vote was the worst in Iran since protests which led to the ouster of the US-backed Shah three decades ago. Authorities deny vote-rigging and portrayed the unrest as a foreign-backed bid to undermine the Islamic state.
Thousands of Iranian security forces assembled on the streets of Tehran on Wednesday to prevent opposition rallies and rein in political dissent.

Opposition leaders Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, who both ran against Ahmadinejad, had urged their supporters to take to the streets to protest against his government despite warnings from the Iranian police about “illegal gatherings”.

‘Five arrested’

Mowjcamp said Karoubi joined the protest on Wednesday. Another witness said the police fired tear gas at the crowd and arrested at least five protesters.

“There are hundreds, chanting ‘God is greatest’. The police and Basij militia are outnumbering the protesters,” one witness said. Thousands of people also gathered in front of the former US embassy for an official ceremony where influential lawmaker Gholamali Haddadadel criticised the opposition leaders.

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