Police fire tear gas on Iranian political protesters

Police fire tear gas on Iranian political protesters

Political protests resumed Tuesday in several parts of Tehran, with police firing tear gas to disperse crowds, dpa reported according to opposition websites and witnesses.

Thousands of people gathered in several parts of Tehran to protest the alleged imprisonment of two main opposition leaders - Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, and their wives, Zahra Ranhavard and Fatemeh Karroubi - in the Heshmatieh military prison in eastern Tehran.

Witnesses say that there have been clashes between protesters and police and anti-riot forces near Tehran university, in central Tehran, forcing police to use tear gas to disperse the crowd.

According to the reports, police and anti-riot police have been deployed in several Tehran districts, especially in the Seyed Khandan district, where the Heshmatieh military prison is located.

The protesters are reportedly shouting slogans in favour of Moussavi and Karroubi. They are also yelling the slogans Allah'o Akbar (God is Great), and Death to the Dictator.

Opposition websites had on Monday reported the prison transfers. Moussavi and Karroubi had been under house arrest for nearly two weeks.

State media quoted the state prosecutor general as rejecting the reports. The office said the Moussavi and Karroubi were only under house arrest.

But the families of the two leaders insisted that the two were not at home and definitely in the Heshmatieh prison. They said that, if the two were not jailed, then the official should allow them to visit the two wherever they were being kept.

Foreign media has once again been prohibited from directly covering the unrest, making it impossible to verify the reports from opposition sites.

Iran on Tuesday said issues related to its opposition were internal affairs and the West had no right to interfere.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast made the comments after Western governments protested the transfers.

Mehmanparast called on the West "to listen to the voice of the majority, rather than a few of them."

"These are internal affairs and no country has and will have any right to interfere in the decisions by the judiciary," Mehmanparast said.

The German and US governments on Monday criticized Iran over the arrest of the two opposition politicians, saying the detentions violate their fundamental human rights.

The Iranian opposition said Monday that its protests would continue until the release of its leaders. More are scheduled for March 15.

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