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Iran: Tehran Counter Rally Ends Peacefully

Tehran, 14 July 1999 (RFE/RL) - Thousands of Iranians attended a rally at Tehran University today to hear government speakers declare that dissidents and student protesters would not be allowed to challenge the clerical leadership of the country. The rally ended peacefully after two hours. Correspondents said there was no sign of the dissidents who took part in the protests in Tehran over the last week. The main speaker, Hasan Rowhani, who is secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, told the rally the government would take decisive action against any who tried to rebel. He said it would not allow any challenge to the policy of "velayat-e-faqih" -- the principle of supreme clerical leadership. Rowhani promised there would be a major crackdown on dissidents. He said some of those arrested during the demonstrations could be charged with offenses carrying the death penalty. The authorities have not said how many were arrested, although unofficial sources suggest it was around 200.

A State television correspondent at the rally said the people had come to renew their committment to the ideals of the founder of the Islamic Republic, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.