Tehran, 19 July 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Tens of thousands of Iranians chanting "Death to America, death to Bush" took to the streets of Tehran today protesting what is seen as U.S. interference in Iranian affairs. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had called on Iranians to show their opposition in rallies across the nation to a recent statement by U.S. President George W. Bush supporting reform in Iran.
National media, politicians, student groups, political factions, and clerics joined in backing the call for the rallies. At a demonstration near Tehran University, crowds burned an effigy of Bush.
Some reformers fear that explicit support from the U.S., seen by many in Iran as "the great Satan," could hurt their cause to the benefit of religious hard-liners.