IRAN - Sept. 18 - Anti-Terrorism Vigil; Basij Counter-Hit.
Basijis in plain clothes and security forces attack several hundred
young people near Mohseni Square in north Tehran trying to hold a
candle-lit vigil for the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in
New York and Washington. Marchers led by the Pak Party of
environmentalists are kicked and beaten up after they blocked traffic as
they lit their candles, with police watching on. The Interior Ministry
had told Pak its application to hold a rally had been denied. Pak
(clean) then told its followers through the press the rally would not be
held. But people including women still turned up. (The incident
highlighted the political tensions between the reformists and hardline
traditionalists. The former saw in the Sept. 11 tragedy an opportunity
to make overtures to the US, as Pak markers chanted "Death to
Terrorism", while the traditionalists were opposed to this. Pres.
Khatami was quick to denounce the Sept. 11 attacks and to urge the
people to pray for the US victims. But Supreme Leader Ayat.
Khamen'i, while he condemned violence against innocent people, said
on Sept. 17 Iran would not support any US retaliation against
Afghanistan. Yet the traditionalists remain strongly opposed to the
Sunni Taliban regime and Bin Ladin in Afghanistan).