Iran forces clash with Montazeri mourners: website

Iran Materials 25 December 2009 02:14 (UTC +04:00)

Iranian security forces clashed with supporters of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri in the northwestern city of Zanjan on Thursday, a reformist website said, Reuters reported.

The Jaras website said some people were injured and arrests were made when the security forces intervened to enforce a ban on memorial services for the leading dissident cleric, who died on Saturday night.

"A memorial service ... scheduled to be held in Jameh mosque of the city of Zanjan was canceled as a result of a ban enforced by the security forces," Jaras said.

There was no immediate comment from the authorities.

On Wednesday, an Iranian official denied reports by opposition websites of similar clashes in the central city of Isfahan, blaming foreign media of "staging a psychological war" against the clerical establishment by publishing such reports.

Jaras quoted an eyewitness as saying that mourners decided to hold the ceremony out on the street because the doors of the mosque were locked and because of the presence of security forces there.

"But the security forces tried to prevent that and to disperse the people," Jaras said. It said a number of people "were severely wounded" and "a large number" were arrested.

Montazeri supporters were chanting anti-government slogans such as "Oh Hossein, Mirhossein" in reference to opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, "Montazeri, congratulations on your freedom," and "Down with the dictator," Jaras said.