New York Times: Iran Claims Nuclear Gain as Protesters Clash

Feb 11, 20100 comments

By ALAN COWELL and MICHAEL SLACKMAN Feb 11 Mr. Ahmadinejad spoke as opposition Web sites carried reports of a crackdown on antigovernment protesters as the anniversary celebrations unfolded, including gunfire, tear gas and attacks on opposition leaders. The reports could not be confirmed independently because the Iranian authorities imposed severe restrictions on news coverage after last June’s flawed presidential elections. The anniversary of the 1979 revolution has become a test of strength between Mr. Ahmadinejad and an opposition movement that took root after the elections, creating the biggest political challenge since the fall of the shah. Apart from the crackdown on the streets, the authorities on Wednesday drastically slowed Internet service in Iran and shut down text messaging services. One official said that Gmail, the Google e-mail service, would be blocked. But news reports indicated that the measures had not kept protesters off the streets. An Iranian opposition Web site said security forces fired shots and tear gas at supporters of an opposition leader, Mir Hussein Moussavi, as they mounted a counter-rally in central Tehran. “Security forces opened fired at protesters and fired tear gas in central Tehran,” Reuters quoted the Green Voice Web site as saying, citing witnesses. Another opposition Web site, Jaras, said that security forces attacked another opposition leader, Mehdi Karoubi, when he attended a rally marking the anniversary. Jaras also said security forces attacked former President Mohammad Khatami and briefly arrested his brother and his brother’s wife, who is a granddaughter of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Revolution. The authorities had warned that they intended to confront protesters harshly. Witnesses quoted by The A.P. said the police deployed hundreds of officers in central Tehran to block protests. [Read More] Alan Cowell reported from Paris, and Michael Slackman from Cairo. Reporting was contributed by Nazila Fathi from Toronto, Neil MacFarquhar from New York, and Ashlee Vance from San Francisco. Source: