Police and protesters clash violently in Tehran.TEHRAN: Police used batons and teargas to break up an opposition protest in central Tehran on Wednesday, while huge crowds staged a noisy anti-US rally nearby to mark the storming of the American embassy by students 30 years ago.
US President Barack Obama, meanwhile, in a statement marking the anniversary of the event that sparked decades of hostility between America and Iran urged Tehran to make choices that would end its international isolation.
Witnesses said the violent clashes occurred at Haft-e-Tir square in the heart of the capital when riot police riot police n → policía antidisturbios
riot police n → forces fpl de police intervenant en cas d'émeute;
hundreds of riot police → armed with batons and firing teargas moved in on a crowd of several hundred opposition supporters staging a protest.
The protesters, who were chanting "Death to the dictator," refused to disperse and dozens were beaten or arrested. Groups of pro-government hardliners also gathered at the square chanting "Death to America."
Opposition website Mowzcamp.com reported that opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi Hojjat ol-Eslam Mehdi Karroubi (مهدی کروبی ; born 1939? in Aligoudarz in Lorestan) is an Iranian politician and cleric, the resigned chairman and founding member of the Association of Combatant Clerics party. was among the protesters at the square but left quickly after he and his supporters came under attack by the hardliners.
The report could not immediately be confirmed.
Away from Haft-e-Tir square, opposition supporters -- numbering several thousand in all -- gathered in small groups on many street corners and side roads, witnesses said.
Staging brief demonstrations during which they chanted "Death to the dictator," and "Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein" -- in praise of main opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi -- the mainly-young protesters quickly moved on to new sites when police tried to disperse them.
Witnesses said the entire city centre had become a stage for "cat and mouse games" between police on bikes and youthful protesters.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the Irna news agency, protesters set fire to rubbish bins rubbish bin n → cubo or bote m (LAM) de la basura
rubbish bin rubbish n (Brit) → boîte and attacked a bus, smashing its windows. It said two policemen were injured in·jure
tr.v. in·jured, in·jur·ing, in·jures
1. To cause physical harm to; hurt.
2. To cause damage to; impair.
3. in the clashes and hospitalized.
Opposition supporters have since June been staging protests at every opportunity in Tehran against the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad This article or section may contain inappropriate or misinterpreted which do not the text.
Please help [ improve this article] by checking for inaccuracies. in a presidential vote they claim was massively rigged.
About a kilometer (mile) away, outside the former US embassy complex -- dubbed dub 1
tr.v. dubbed, dub·bing, dubs
1. To tap lightly on the shoulder by way of conferring knighthood.
2. To honor with a new title or description.
3. the "Den of Spies" -- thousands of Iranians gathered from early morning chanting slogans such as "Death to America" and "Death to Israel," witnesses said.
They also smashed up posters they had brought with them of the American "Uncle Sam Uncle Sam, name used to designate the U.S. government. The term arose in the War of 1812 and seems at first to have been used derisively by those opposed to the war. Possibly it was an expansion of the letters "U.S. " symbol and chanted "The blood in our veins is a gift to our leader" -- a reference to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah ayatollah: see Shiites.
In the Shiite branch of Islam, a high-ranking religious authority regarded by his followers as the most learned person of his age. The ayatollah's authority rests on the infallible imam. Ali Khamenei.
The crowd was constantly swelled by people arriving on foot and by bus, witnesses said.
By mid-afternoon the streets of Tehran were calm again as people who took part in the various rallies and protests went home, witnesses said. However, a large security force presence remained on standby in the city centre.
Wednesday's anniversary, which has turned into a cornerstone of the Islamic regime, marks the capture by radical Islamist students of the US embassy compound on November 4, 1979 -- just months after the Islamic revolution toppled the US-backed shah.
The students, who took 52 American diplomats hostage and held them for 444 days, said they were responding to Washington's refusal to hand over the deposed shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran (Persian: محمدرضا پهلوی Moḥammad Rez̤ā Pahlavī .
The two countries broke diplomatic ties after the event, which have yet to be restored.
Obama in his statement urged Iran to look to the future rather than the past.
"We have heard for 30 years what the Iranian government is against; the question, now, is what kind of future it is for," he said.
"It is time for the Iranian government to decide whether it wants to focus on the past, or whether it will make the choices that will open the door to greater opportunity, prosperity and justice for its people."
US-Iranian relations deteriorated even further during the tenure of former US president George W. Bush, who lumped Iran into an "axis of evil" along with North Korea and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
During his first term as president, Ahmadinejad stepped up Tehran's anti-US tirade.
And although Washington has made diplomatic overtures o·ver·ture
a. An instrumental composition intended especially as an introduction to an extended work, such as an opera or oratorio.
b. towards Tehran under Bush successor Barack Obama, Khamenei said Iran still distrusts the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. .
"Every time they have a smile on their face, they are hiding a dagger behind their back," he said on Tuesday.
The anniversary comes at a time when Washington is backing a sensitive nuclear fuel deal for Tehran brokered by the UN atomic watchdog.
Daily NewsEgypt 2009
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