Iran opposition resumes protests on Women’s Day

Berlin – Critics of Iran’s government were planning to resume protests Tuesday on the occasion of International Women’s Day, opposition websites reported.

As foreign media were once again not allowed to directly cover the protests, all reports come from opposition websites and eyewitnesses and therefore not verifiable.

According to the reports, there have been protests in north and central Tehran and even some minor clashes with police and anti-riot forces.

Eyewitnesses said that a large number of forces have been deployed in several parts of Tehran to disperse the crowd.

There are pictures of minor clashed on the social network Facebook but it is not clear whether the pictures are from Tuesday or previous protests.

The protests, initiated by the movement known as Green Wave, are primarily aimed at securing the release of its two main leaders, Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who have been kept incommunicado under house arrest for almost three weeks.

The two leaders’ wives, Zahra Rahnavard and Fatemeh Karroubi, were reportedly being held in the Heshmattieh military prison in eastern Tehran.

The judiciary and Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi denied that the four were imprisoned, and said they were under house arrest.

Moussavi’s website Kalameh on Tuesday confirmed that he and his wife were indeed under house arrest but still prohibited to meet their family members and their phone and Internet connections still cut. There are no news yet on Karroubi but also he is expected to be under house arrest.

It was not clear whether the four were transferred from prison to their home again or never been in jail at all.

Relatives of Moussavi and Karroubi said the lights in their houses have been off for weeks. If the two were under house arrest, they said, then they should be allowed meet their family members.

At least three people were killed and an unknown number of protesters arrested in two demonstrations in recent weeks.

More than 200 legislators, several clerical groups and many government supporters have called for the arrest and execution of Moussavi and Karroubi for allegedly undermining the Islamic system and collaborating with foreigners.

But the government and judiciary have distanced themselves from the death calls and arrested them. Unconfirmed reports said they were moved from house arrest to another location at the weekend.

Moussavi’s website reported that the government has built an ‘iron wall’ around the former prime minister’s residence in central Tehran. Witnesses said a large gate had been erected at the entrance of the alleyway leading to his house.

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