Iranian security suppresses new opposition protests in Isfahan

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Tehran (Iran), Dec. 24 (ANI): Iranian security forces violently suppressed opposition supporters in the city of Isfahan yesterday as tensions increased before nationwide demonstrations planned for this weekend.

Two days after massive demonstrations in the holy city of Qom, clashes erupted in Isfahan, Iran's third city, as thousands of mourners gathered for a memorial service for Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the opposition's spiritual leader, who died at the weekend.

Opposition websites said riot police and Basij militiamen surrounded the Seyed mosque from early in the morning, and then attacked the mourners with batons, teargas and pepper gas.

Many were injured and dozens were arrested, including four journalists and a cleric, Masoud Abid, who was to deliver the sermon. Reformist website Parlemannews reported that more than 50 people were detained.

Security forces also sealed off the home of Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri, who organised the service and used to lead Friday prayers in Isfahan until he resigned in 2002 in protest at the regime's growing authoritarianism.

Clashes also erupted in nearby Najafabad, Montazeri's home town, on Tuesday night and continued yesterday. (ANI)

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