Iran arrests aides to Khatami and Mousavi: report

08:29, December 29, 2009      

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An Iranian opposition supporter gestures Monday next to a burning police motorcycle set on fire during clashes with security forces in Tehran. Photo: AFP

Iran arrested several aides to reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami and opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, an opposition website reported Monday.

Khatami aides "Morteza Haji and (Hasan) Rasooli were arrested," parlemannews.ir said. The two men run Khatami's non-governmental Baran organization.

"Mousavi advisers Alireza Beheshti, (Ghorban) Behzadian-Nejad and (Mohammad) Bagherian were also arrested in the morning," it added.
Another opposition website, Rahesabz.net, said that Ebrahim Yazdi, who served as foreign minister in the early months of the 1979 Islamic revolution, and award-winning rights campaigner and journalist Emadeddin Baghi, were both arrested Monday.

The arrests reflected the escalating tension in Tehran after eight protesters were confirmed dead by Iran's state-run satellite channel Press TV. It did not specify in which cities the victims were killed.

Iran's deputy police chief Ahmad Reza Radan said earlier Sunday that police were not involved in the killings and the incidents were under investigation, according to Press TV.

Police had previously said at least 300 people were arrested during Sunday's protests, which turned into the bloodiest showdown between protesters and security forces in months.

Meanwhile, the body of Mousavi's nephew, Seyed Ali Mousavi, who was killed in Sunday's clashes, has been transferred from the hospital to an unknown location, his brother said.

The opposition said Seyed Ali Mousavi was among those killed when security forces opened fire with live rounds after firing tear gas and using batons against protesters in central Tehran.

However, government supporters reacted to the unrest by demanding action against the opposition, with parliament's majority conservative bloc calling on "security and judiciary authorities to firmly deal with those who mock Ashura," in a statement carried by the official IRNA News Agency.

A Tehran Friday prayer speaker, cleric Ahmad Khatami, said "controversial slogans shouted at this incident were in fact against the establishment," ISNA reported.

"The judiciary needs to act firmly and there is no room for tolerance," he said.

Source:Global Times/Agencies
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