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  • » 06/29/2009, 00.00

    IRAN

    Fresh violence in Tehran, a new count of votes, tensions with the European Union



    About 3 thousand people were attacked by police. The Council of Guardians today begins a review of the results of the polls, but Moussavi and Kharroubi want new elections with international observers. The EU threatens "loud and collective" action over the arrest of British embassy employees. Society, government and pasdaran are all divided.

    Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Several thousand people clashed with police yesterday evening, amid increased tension with Great Britain and the European Union over the arrest of local British embassy employees, accused of having played an important role in recent demonstrations.

    After several days of apparent calm – following the harsh repression of opposition protests - at least 3 thousand people gathered in front of the mosque in Ghoba yesterday. The police charged the crowd with truncheons and tear gas. An elderly woman was beaten and there were clashes between police and young people. According to some witnesses Mehdi Kharroubi was at the event as well as representatives of Mir Hossein Moussavi, the two losing presidential candidates who have rejected the outcome of the June 12th elections and have called for new elections.

    This morning the Council of Guardians began the review of 10% of the polls to verify the election result which gave victory to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. According to the opposition, there were at least 600 cases of fraud. Moussavi and Kharroubi have said they do not accept the mini-review and demand for new elections in the presence of international observers.

    Yesterday, European Union Foreign Ministers condemned the arrest of 8 local British embassy employees, accused of having fomented events in recent days. According to the official Iranian television five of them were released. The EU ministers have demanded their complete release and warned that "harassment or intimidation" of embassy staff would be met with a "strong and collective" response.

    The government of Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei are faced with the deepest crisis in the 30 years of the Islamic Republic, with an opposition that tends to deprive them of prestige. The government’s response is increasingly harsh. In addition to suppression of the demonstrations – with at least 17 dead - there are ongoing arrests. According to the International Federation for Human Rights to date at least 2 thousand people have been arrested.

    Then behind the crisis seen on the streets there is increasing division in the leadership. According to analysts, the Council of experts, the major ayatollahs, the government, parliament, the army and even the Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran) are divided.

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    See also

    20/06/2009 IRAN
    Opposition challenges Khamenei: on with the demonstrations
    Mehdi Kharroubi and the wife of Moussavi call for demonstrations, against the warnings launched yesterday by the Grand Ayatollah. The Police announce a harsh crack down on “illegal gatherings”. An increasingly wide divide between protesters and establishment. Moussavi will not be present at the gathering of the Guardian Council for the partial verification of the election results.

    25/06/2009 IRAN
    Kharroubi cancels the ceremony in memory of victims of repression in Tehran
    The decision was made in the wake of new violence yesterday. According to witnesses, police fired on crowds and beat women with batons. The Council of Guardians reaffirms the validity of the election results. The protest continued into the night to the cry of "Allah akhbar!" And "Death to Khamenei". Moussavi and his wife Zahra propose to continue the protest.

    30/07/2009 IRAN
    Despite ban, the opposition demonstrates in Tehran
    A commemoration march is scheduled for today, to remember those who died during demonstrations against the Ahmadinejad’s election last month. Twenty arrested will be tried for "threatening public order and security." They are accused of collusion with the Mujaheddin-e-Khalq.

    05/12/2009 IRAN
    Tehran University under siege. Students: "We are at war"
    Government officials have launched a massive campaign of repression, with arrests and convictions. Pro-Western courses replaced with Islamic theology. Female students who wear clothes considered too colourful, punished. On 7 December, an anti-government demonstration planned, which could lead to fresh violence.

    15/02/2011 IRAN
    In Tehran one dead and dozens wounded. Brute force to stop protests for reform
    After Egypt and Tunisia the wave of protest has enveloped the ayatollahs regime. Opposition takes to the streets, defying the government, which responds with a violent crackdown.



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