Iran`s Karroubi attacked on way to prayers: Report

Last Updated: Friday, July 17, 2009 - 22:07

Tehran: Defeated Iranian presidential
candidate Mehdi Karroubi was attacked by men in plainclothes
on his way to Friday prayers at Tehran university, the website
of his Etemad Melli political party reported.

Etemad Melli quoted Karroubi`s son Hossein as saying the
reformist cleric was attacked when he got off the car in front
of the university.

"When my father got out of the car in front of the
university, some plainclothes forces standing by the door
attacked and assaulted him," Hossein said.
"His turban fell. They insulted him using very abusive
and outrageous names."

Karroubi, a former parliament speaker, nevertheless
attended the weekly prayers, along with Iran`s main opposition
leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and thousands of the two men`s
supporters.

Police tear-gas protesters

Tens of thousands of government
opponents packed Iran`s main Islamic prayer sermon Friday,
chanting "freedom, freedom" and other slogans as their top
clerical backer Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani delivered a sermon
bluntly criticising the country`s leadership over the
crackdown on election protests.

Outside, pro-government Basiji militiamen in front
of a line of riot police fired tear gas at thousands of
protesters who chanted "death to the dictator" and called on
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to resign. Young protesters with
green bandanas over their mouths and noses set a bonfire in
the street and kicked away gas canisters, facing off with the
security forces while others scattered.

The opposition aimed to turn the Friday prayers at
Tehran University into a show of their continued strength
despite heavy government suppression since the disputed June
12 presidential election.

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who claims
to have won the election, sat in the front row of worshippers,
attending for the first time since the turmoil began. Many of
the tens of thousands at the prayers wore headbands or
wristbands in his campaign colour green, or had green prayer
rugs.

In his sermon broadcast live on radio nationwide,
Rafsanjani reprimanded the clerical leadership for not
listening to the controversy over the election, which was
declared a victory for Ahmadinejad despite opposition claims
of fraud.

Bureau Report



First Published: Friday, July 17, 2009 - 22:07

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