Sunday, October 25, 2009

Clashes as Mehdi Karroubi Visits Exhibition

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Clashes erupted on Friday between hardliners and supporters of Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi when he visited a media exhibition in the capital, ISNA news agency reported. Karroubi supporters began to chant slogans in his favour when he arrived at the exhibition, but hardliners then confronted them, the report said. The cleric, who has been vocal in recent months in opposing the re-election in June of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was immediately made to leave the venue as fist-fights broke out between the two groups. Pictures released by Fars news agency showed Karroubi surrounded by dozens of people. In one picture the cleric is seen without his white turban, while another picture showed a small red scar on his forehead. Tehran police chief Azizollah Rajabzadeh said no arrests were made although "Mehdi Karroubi's visit to Tehran exhibition caused some tensions," Mehr new agency quoted him as saying. In recent months Karroubi has alleged that several male and female protesters who opposed Ahmadinejad's victory in the June 12 poll had been raped in prison after they were detained in post-election protests. Officials have dismissed his allegations and threatened to take legal action against him. Ahmadinejad's re-election triggered widespread protests in Tehran with his main rival Mir Hossein Mousavi, along with Karroubi, rejecting the hardliner's victory. They allege it was the result of massive vote rigging.