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Clashes reported in Tehran

December 26, 2009|By Borzou Daragahi | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Reporting from Beirut — Opposition websites reported clashes between demonstrators and security forces in central Tehran this morning as the peak of a 10-day religious holiday approached.

The reformist website Rahesabz, or Green Path, said police used batons and fired teargas canisters to disperse demonstrators approaching Tehran's Imam Hossein Square.

Passersby in motor vehicles leaned on their horns in support, said the website, which has previously proven accurate.

Some news websites said the clashes at Imam Hossein Square had died down by the early afternoon but others said they were escalating to other main squares of downtown Tehran.

Iran has been roiled by renewed outbreaks of political unrest in recent days, with public demonstrations breaking out across the country in protests stemming from the country's disputed June 12 reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The latest clashes erupted on the ninth day of the Islamic calendar month of Muharram, or Tasua, marking the day before Ashura, the day of the 7th century martyrdom of Imam Hossein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammad and a revered figure in Iran's majority Shiite Muslim faith.

Iranians anticipate heavier clashes tomorrow on Ashura, which also coincides with the religiously significant 7th day of mourning following the death of Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, Iran's leading dissident cleric.

daragahi@latimes.com

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