One dead after Iranian protest


Police disperse demonstrators with tear gas at political rally to support Egypt

ALI AKBAR DAREINI Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran — Clashes between Iranian police and tens of thousands of protesters wracked central Tehran on Monday killing one person, as opposition supporters tried to evoke the spirit of Egypt’s recent popular uprising.
The opposition called for a demonstration Monday in solidarity with Egypt’s popular revolt that a few days earlier forced the president there to resign after nearly 30 years in office. The rally is the first major show of strength for Iran’s cowed opposition in more than a year.
Police used tear gas against the protesters in central Tehran’s Enghelab, or Revolution, square and in Imam Hossein square, as well as in other nearby main streets. Demonstrators responded by setting garbage bins on fire to protect themselves from the stinging white clouds.
The pro-government Fars News Agency reported that a bystander was shot dead by protesters.

Eyewitnesses said at least three protesters injured by bullets were taken to a hospital in central Tehran while dozens of others were hospitalized as a result of being beaten.

“An Iranian dies but doesn’t accept humiliation,” demonstrators chanted. “Death to the dictator,” they said, in a chant directed at hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Opposition website reported similar rallies took place in the central city of Isfahan and Shiraz in the south. Security forces used force to disperse them as well.

Foreign media are banned from covering street protests in Iran.

The uprising in Egypt opened a rare chance for the political gambit by Iran’s opposition.

Ahmadinejad claimed the Egyptians who toppled President Hosni Mubarak took inspiration from Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, which brought down a Western-backed monarchy. Iran’s opposition movement used the comments to push the government into a corner and request permission to march in support of Egypt’s protesters.

Iranian officials quickly backpedaled and said no pro-Egypt rallies were allowed — bringing sharp criticism from the White House and others.

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