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Iran makes arrests before revolution day rally

[ 2010-02-11 13:20]     字号 [] [] []  
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Iran has arrested several people who were preparing to disrupt rallies today marking the 1979 Islamic revolution, police said yesterday, in a clear warning to opposition supporters planning new protests.

Opposition leaders have called on supporters to take to the streets today, raising the risk of renewed violence eight months after a disputed election plunged Iran into crisis.

The authorities say the pro-reform opposition will face a firm response if it tries to hijack state-sponsored celebrations of the anniversary, when they say the Iranian nation in a display of unity will "punch the faces" of its Western enemies.

The conservative leadership is also facing increased international pressure after the nation announced this week an expansion of nuclear work which the West suspects is aimed at making bombs, a charge Teheran denies.

US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday the international community was moving "fairly quickly" toward imposing broader sanctions on Iran, a major oil producer. At the same time, China has called for more diplomacy.

Events will be held across Iran to mark the revolution anniversary but the main official gathering will be at Teheran's Azadi square, where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to speak to a crowd which usually involves numbers in tens of thousands.

Opposition websites say the day belongs to all Iranians and have urged supporters to attend the rally too.

"We are closely watching the activities of the sedition movement and several people who were preparing to disrupt the Feb 11 rallies were arrested," Fars News Agency quoted police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam as saying, giving no details.

Playing down possible unrest, the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying: "There will be no worries in this regard. We are fully prepared for holding a safe and glorious rally."

He said police, the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij Islamic militia were "ready for any possible incident ... and they will let no one create insecurity".

Iran's embassy in Paris was sprayed with green graffiti on Tuesday night by opposition supporters.

The activists posted a video of their attack online.

On Tuesday, protesters in Iran pelted the French and Italian embassies in Teheran with eggs and stones. Italy protested, saying the demonstration was orchestrated by the Iranian authorities.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Iran makes arrests before revolution day rally

About the broadcaster:

Iran makes arrests before revolution day rally

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.