Iran says several foreigners arrested during unrest

Iran said yesterday several foreign citizens were arrested during clashes between opposition supporters and security forces last month, state television reported.

"Several foreigners are among those who were arrested on the day of Ashura... they were leading a psychological war against the system... they entered Iran two days before Ashura," Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi told state TV, without elaborating on the foreigners' nationality.

In Iran's bloodiest unrest since the aftermath of the disputed June 12 presidential election, eight people were killed on December 27 and at least 40 pro-reform figures, including four senior advisors to opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, have been arrested since then.

Iranian hardline authorities have repeatedly accused the opposition leaders of links to "foreign enemies", warning that they will not tolerate any more anti-government protests after the fiery demonstrations during the Shi'ite ritual of Ashura.

Neither side has shown much appetite for compromise in the six months since the disputed election and confrontations might intensify, despite a flood of accusations and counter-charges.

A representative of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said opposition leaders were 'mohareb' (enemies of God) fit for execution under Islamic law.

Hardline officials have urged opposition leaders to repent or "face charges of supporting apostates in defiance of God". Mousavi on Friday said he was ready to sacrifice his life for the reform movement.

 

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