Iran forces clash with Tehran protesters: report

TEHRAN (AFP)— Iranian security forces on Tuesday fired tear gas in Tehran clashes with anti-government protesters demanding the release of two opposition leaders, opposition websites reported.

Kaleme.com and Sahamnews.org, the websites respectively of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, reported clashes between protesters and security forces erupted near Tehran University and in some parts of the capital, including Azadi (Freedom) Square.

It said security forces, deployed in large numbers, fired tear gas at protesters who were chanting “Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein!” in support of Mousavi as well as “Death to Dictator!” referring to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the main target of the protests.

Another opposition website Rahesabz.net reported that police arrested five people in Tehran during the demonstration, while 10 protesters were detained in Iran’s second largest city of Mashhad.

Sahamnews.org said protesters were gathering in clusters “sporadically near Azadi Square but were being extensively attacked by special police forces.”

The anti-government protests were called by an opposition group to demand release of Mousavi and Karroubi, whose status was unclear on Tuesday as their websites claimed the two men had been jailed, while officials denied it.

Kaleme.com said that groups of people were walking on pavements of prominent squares and streets in Tehran in an attempt to stage demonstrations, especially near Tehran University.

But the online edition of state-run newspaper Iran said that Tehran was calm with work going on as usual.

Iran has banned foreign media from on-the-spot coverage of opposition protests.