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Iran: More Unrest In Tehran

Tehran, 12 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- There was a second night of unrest last night in the Iranian capital, Tehran, with clashes reported between police and antigovernment demonstrators. Thousands of demonstrators gathered around a dormitory at Tehran University to support students who are surrounded by other police units inside. With riot police blocking surrounding streets, the protesters chanted slogans against the country's Muslim clerical rulers and demanded the resignation of moderate President Mohammad Khatami for failing to bring about quick reforms.

AP reported antiriot police and hard-line vigilantes chased down several hundred mainly teenage protesters, beating them with sticks. The news agency said several people were seen being carried away with head injuries.

Police with batons broke up a similar protest early yesterday and arrested around 80 people. Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said "local radicals and foreign agents" instigated the demonstrations.

He was apparently referring to satellite channels owned by Iranian opposition groups in exile which have encouraged Iranians to rise up against the ruling clerics. Yunesi warned that the government will not tolerate new "illegal activities" in the name of students.

Analysts are predicting more protests as the anniversary of violent student unrest in 1999 approaches early next month.